False alarm spurs emergency preparedness

Emergency managers say to have a plan

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - A false alarm emergency evacuation warning was sent out across the county on Thursday. While it turned out there was no danger, authorities said it is a good reminder to be ready for anything. 

Officials said the Kern County Emergency Operations Center can be set up and ready to handle emergencies within two hours, but encourage residents to have their own plan in place.

Emergency Services Manager, Georgianna Armstrong, said these are the top disasters Kern County should prepare for. "earthquake, wildfire, flood, hazardous material, dam failure, weather events, power outages."

Armstrong said Kern County's Emergency Operations Center has a plan for each one and where to go if need be.

"Something common to all of these plans is the assumption that the individuals have their own individual plan. Because in a disaster event it takes time to roll out enough resources to provide assistance," said Armstrong. 

On the city side, Battalion Chief John Frando said, the best thing you can do to be ready is to have a plan, know your plan and practice your plan, so in the event of an emergency you can grab and go.

"Having a home emergency kit that's going to allow you to be on your own for up to two weeks is really important with significant water, food, communications like a radio that runs on batteries," said Battalion Chief Frando.

If there is a major emergency and people need to be evacuated, emergency managers say they will use notifications to tell you where to go. Those notification will be on TV and radio as well as Ready Kern, which is a system that will send you emergency alerts to your phone.

"When we send out an alert to evacuate or to shelter in place it's followed up with other messages. So if we're going to tell people to evacuate we also like to provide the evacuation routes," said Battalion Chief Frando.

Armstrong added, "Directions would be given out from the impacted area where people should go, where structuring services will be operated."

Armstrong said the last time the county EOC evacuated an area was during the Erskine Fires in 2016.
And signing up for services like Ready Kern can increase your chances of getting to safety.

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