By Mary-Justine Lanyon
Following the series of snowstorms this past winter, Crestline resident Rudy Westervelt had what he calls the “crazy idea” to bring together community leaders and become the one-source contact for accurate information year-round and a place to go in an emergency.
“Everything this side of the Arctic Circle was in trouble,” Westervelt told members of the Rotary Club of Lake Arrowhead Mountain Sunrise. Rather than having a lack of information, there was almost too much – scattered among several well-intentioned groups that sprang up as a result of the snow disaster some call Snowmageddon.
“Thank goodness we had good neighbors who checked on each other,” he said.
What he proposed was building on that outreach, bringing together community leaders and representatives from the agencies who can help the community in case of a disaster.
That group has grown to close to 30 people who have been meeting on Zoom every two weeks for several months. They are in the process of creating a website that will include contact information for the various agencies and information for residents on how to be prepared.
On the food side – which proved to be a big issue during the snowstorms – Westervelt said they hope to have permanent food storage spots across the mountain. They will also be talking with some of the local churches about becoming food distribution points.
Alliance member Barry Robinson is working with Delacey Foster, the dietitian at Mountains Community Hospital, on a meal plan and list of shelf-stable foods for residents. The goal, Westervelt said, is to make sure pantries are stocked.
And so what Westervelt is calling the Rim Communities Resource Alliance will hold a launch gathering on Saturday, Aug. 19 at 10 a.m. at the Lake Gregory Education Center, located at 24740 San Moritz Way in Crestline.
“All community members – from Cedarpines Park to Green Valley Lake – are invited,” he said. “You will be excited with what we have and are developing to be ready for any natural disaster that may impact our community. Learn about preparations you need to make today.”
Representatives from a number of agencies – including Cal OES, FEMA and SBA – will be there to share information, including earthquake preparation. Westervelt added that a representative from the sheriff’s department will talk about joining Search and Rescue and Citizens on Patrol.
He is still working on how the group can identify seniors and others in the community who need to be checked on. What happens to them when the power goes out? he asked. Who has medical risks?
Westervelt wants to get more information from Edison and SoCal Gas. “What do we need to do around gas meters? What should we do if there’s an earthquake and we smell gas?
“We want to connect all this information so we’re all on the same page.”
Westervelt also wants to connect with real estate agents so they can share this information with new mountain residents. He would also like to get the information in the hands of short-term rental owners for their guests.
“We need everyone to be part of this process,” Westervelt said. “It’s important for us to take care of each other.”