By RSF Association President Jack Queen
Last Thursday, San Diego County suffered the worst power outage in the history of California and one of the worst ever to hit the country. The outage left 5 million people without power for over 12 hours. They tell me it could have been a lot worse having the potential to impact a greater number of people for a much longer period of time.
Twelve hours was bad enough. The good news is that it serves as a wakeup call to be prepared for future emergencies. To a great extent, we all take for granted the many services that we receive and do not fully realize how dependent that we become on electronic devices. As for the service we receive, such as fire and security protection, once again our back up plans were tested and proved to be working very well. On the larger scale, the County’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was activated which brings on line all law enforcement, fire fighters and emergency personnel under one command for the entire County.
Locally, our Patrol working with the Sheriff Department takes over the needs of our community and works out of the North County Dispatch offices located in the Fire Station. Our first action is to call in the off duty Patrol officers to make sure we have the resources available to address whatever issues might come up and to implement the orders given out by the EOC.
The Patrol works all year long with local agencies on emergency drills to be prepared for any emergency. Additionally, working with the Senior Center, the Patrol keeps a record of residents with special needs in our community including the nature of their special needs and who their caregivers are just in case of an emergency. One of the main concerns is for members that rely on some form of life support.
Due to the large scope of the power outage not only was all the power to the area off line but I think we all discovered that some cell phone coverage went down as well. Our children actually got to see firsthand what life was like before we all had cell phones and it was a little scary. This outage just brings to light (forgive the pun) the need for every family to have an emergency plan in place.
We tend to focus our attention on fire preparedness and overlook other emergencies such as earthquakes and general power outages. As individual families, we need to be ready to take care of ourselves until services can be restored. We cannot rely on someone else to come to our aid because those resources may be overtaxed and addressing the needs of people in life-threating situations. Go out and buy those extra batteries and emergency radio today and don’t put it off until after the next emergency.