By Hyung Seok LEE
CV Weekly Intern
On Dec. 19, the Korean community of La Crescenta was invited to attend an informational meeting on emergency preparedness in case of mud and debris flow. The meeting took place in Antioch Presbyterian Church where representatives from the Department of Public Works for the Los Angeles County, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Department gave a presentation on the current danger the Crescenta Valley is facing.
Due to the Station Fire, much of the vegetation that rooted on the hillsides burned away. This caused the soil to be loose and unstable. Because of the instability in the soil, the chances of a mud and debris flow during a rainstorm have grown tremendously.
“This meeting is to bring our community closer together to be able to respond together in case of an emergency. It is also to spread the knowledge of the potential danger we are facing,” event organizer Kim Mattersteig said. Mattersteig is a member of State Farm insurance and it was at her urging that an evacuation drill of Briggs Terrace was organized prior to the Station Fire.
Saturday’s presentation provided statistics on a mud and debris flow, causes for a flow, preparation to protect property and guidelines in case of an emergency. Residents were advised to follow all instructions and be on constant alert.
“The potential for a mud and debris flow in the Crescenta Valley is 60-80%. The chance of the flow depends solely on the weather at this point. We need to be in constant alert [over] the next three to five years,” Dr. Suzanne C. Perry of the USGS said.
During recent rains, 42 homes were asked to evacuate; however 27 of the 42 residents decided to stay. Though there was no major mud or debris flow, the 27 houses would have been in serious danger if a flow occurred, according to USGS.
“It is important that everyone follows the directions in case of an emergency. If you are advised to leave, that information is coming from expert sources,” Community Emergency Response Team unit coordinator Paul Dutton said.
Though the meeting Saturday was not well attended – only about a dozen residents were there – Mattersteig felt the information delivered was important and critical.
“Though not many people showed up I think the message was conveyed thoroughly and was very informative,” she said.
Mattersteig is hopeful for another meeting in January after the holidays.