Following notification of danger to the people inside CVR masks were sent for all residents, staff and responders and the Public Health department began working on setting up evacuation sites, the primary location being at Jensen Hall, the backup site at Lassen Community College.
Lassen Rural Bus was contacted and responded immediately to help transfer residents if the evacuation was to be ordered.
The Public Health Department then retrieved a 25-bed alternate care site trailer with the assistance of County Sheriff and responded to Jensen Hall where more Public Health and Health and Social Services department staff stood by waiting for the possible full scale evacuation.
“We are so impressed by the collaboration of agencies and the commitment of staff, community members and volunteers to ensure the safety and comfort of the residents,” said Myers.
At the same time that emergency management teams were planning the evacuation the vegetation fire had reached Lassen Municipal Utility District’s transmission lines which run along Riverside drive, shutting off power for much of the town. LMUD crews responded to the scene, restoring power to most of the area within an hour.
Complicating the evacuation was the fact that almost all residents from the CVR complex are either wheelchair bound, bedridden or walker dependent, so an evacuation of this magnitude required special considerations and demanded that the entire evacuation team respond seamlessly.
Myers explains that, “Community preparedness is achieved through working relationships that identify specific roles in response to a disaster, in this incident everybody worked together and fell right in to their designated role.”
Transportation of all the complex’s residents, and needed supplies, began with the assistance of Country Villa Riverview, Public Health Department staff, Lassen County Sheriff’s Deputies, Susanville City Police Officers, Susanville City Fire staff and volunteers.
In less than one hour 8 critically oxygen dependent residents were moved to Banner Lassen Medical Center for continued evaluation and 71 residents were transported to Jensen Hall.
It was late Monday evening when residents, volunteers and their families received notification from Dave Junette, Chief of Lassen County’s Office of Emergency Services, that Public Health staff, OES and the Susanville City Fire Department had assessed the building for health considerations and determined that the facility was safe for the return of the residents. By 9:00p.m. the entire population of the complex had been returned to normal.
“This incident will be used as a learning experience to help us further prepare to protect the health and safety of our wonderful community during times of crisis and disaster; we hope that it will encourage all Lassen County residents to take an active role in individual and community preparedness,” said Myers.
The Lassen County Department of Public Health would like to thank the following agencies, organizations and businesses who contributed during the crisis: