If and when a major earthquake hits Orange County, are you prepared? Irvine Ranch Water District is.
The tragic events of the devastating earthquake in Japan and the resulting tsunami of March 11 serve to remind us that we live in an earthquake-prone region. April is designated as Earthquake Preparedness Month in memory of the San Francisco Earthquake, which occurred in the early morning hours of April 18, 1906.
“In the event of an Orange County earthquake, IRWD staff is trained, ready and prepared to handle the issues at hand,” said Jane Schafer, IRWD safety and security specialist. “Employees routinely participate in emergency preparedness drills, with heavy emphasis on team coordination, community outreach and inter-agency collaboration.”
Some may remember another early morning earthquake in 1994 that awakened Southern Californians and caused widespread damage in the Northridge area. When the call went out from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power asking other water agencies for mutual aid to help repair damaged pipelines, highly experienced crews from IRWD were the first to respond.
IRWD sent 12-man crews, with heavy equipment and essential tools to assist in the hard-hit communities of Northridge and Reseda. Twenty-three IRWD employees rotated through 12-hour shifts over a four-day period to restore water service to affected neighborhoods.
“We were focused and had to get as much as possible done in the time we had available,” said John Palomares, one of the crew members. “We heard many positive comments from the people who were affected.”
IRWD personnel repaired 15 mainline leaks in critical areas around the San Fernando Valley. Additionally, they investigated 50 other leaks and made partial repairs.
Preparation for early response to any emergencies is a top priority for IRWD, whether it be an earthquake, a fire, a spill or a water quality issue. Emergencies like the 1994 Northridge earthquake provide staff with a valuable real-world experience, which in turn helps during the next emergency. If and when there is any kind of emergency situation affecting the IRWD service area, customers should visit the District’s website for emergency bulletin information on the home page. Periodic updates are posted throughout the emergency situation to provide current information. Staff also posts emergency information on the IRWD Facebook page and the @IRWDemergency twitter channel.
For more information on emergency preparedness please visit Emergency & CodeRED - Irvine Ranch Water District
# # #
Irvine Ranch Water District is an independent special district, celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. The District provides high quality drinking water, wastewater services, recycled water and urban runoff treatment. Please visit www.irwd.com.