More than $170,000 in grants were recently awarded to Del Norte County agencies for equipment and services related to emergency preparedness.
The items that will be purchased with state and federal grant money range from $8,000 for new radios and medical supplies for the Klamath Fire Department to almost $25,000 to Sutter Coast Hospital for canned water — a crucial asset for the whole community in the event that potable water supplies are compromised.
Cindy Henderson, emergency services manager for Del Norte County, said that the emergency-related grants are commonly received every year by various agencies in the community. Every year, Del Norte County’s partners in emergency response and preparation compile “wish lists” for items that they hope can be funded by emergency grants. Then a group dubbed the “FEMA Five,” which includes the Crescent City police chief, the county sheriff, fire officials and the county public health officer slim down the requests before they are submitted.
“All of the groups receiving grants are getting them, because they are strong partners in disaster preparedness,” Henderson said.
The Gasquet Fire Department will receive $25,000 for turnout gear, outer protective clothing for firefighting. College of the Redwoods will receive $3,000 for an automated external defibrillator in case of medical emergencies on campus. Generator wiring at the American Legion Hall in Gasquet will be funded by $15,000 by the Gasquet Fire Department.
Both the Gasquet Fire Department and Crescent Fire Protection District will be able to purchase $10,000 each for thermal imaging cameras, which can detect if a body is beneath a pile of debris.
Crescent City will receive a $10,000 match grant for security equipment at the Waste Water Treatment Center and another $11,500 match grant for a portable message board that can be used to alert the public during emergencies. Crescent City can also use a $7,500 match grant for road barricades.
The Del Norte County Public Health department stores refrigerated vaccines that are crucial in the event of a disease-related pandemic. The Public Health office will receive $11,000 for a generator switch that will turn on automatically during a power failure. The office also received $2,500 for a new refrigerator.
Thousands of vaccines have been wasted in the past when there was a power failure and county officials could not turn on the generator manually fast enough to salvage refrigerated vaccines, Henderson said.
“We have some serious money invested in the vaccines over there so it’s important that we don’t lose that,” Henderson said.
Trakband triage software and scanners will also be purchased with grant money and can be used by Del Norte Ambulance, Sutter Coast Hospital, fire departments and other first responders. The Trakband system is used for victims in a disaster: each victim is strapped with a wristband that includes a bar code. That bar code can be scanned to quickly find out everything that first responders know about a victim.
First responder bags and a water purification system will be purchased for Bar O Boys Ranch with funds from government grants. The county will also get eight light towers that can be used to light an area during a power outage.
The local Community Emergency Response Team program and the Del Norte neighborhood preparedness program will each receive $8,000.