BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Sunday, Megan Person, Director of Countywide Communications for Kern County, and Kern County Fire Department Battalion Chief Brandon Smith held a press conference to bring the public up to date on earthquake recovery operations in the community.
Smith announced that following the first eathquake on July 4th, the city of Ridgecrest proclaimed a natural disaster, followed shortly by the county and state. California Governor Gavin Newsom requested that Presidential declaration be issued, which would allow the region to secure federal funds for disaster relief, but at this time that has not taken place.
Smith also stated that they were in contact with the Army Corps of Engineers at the Lake Isabella Dam and they re-confirmed that the dam met all current safety standards. They dam has been inspected following both major earthquakes and the Corps of Engineers is very confident in the structural integrity of the dam.
Person stated that there have been reports of residents putting their hands or themselves into cracks caused by the recent seismic activity. She wanted to emphasize to the public no to do this because they could be "putting themselves in harms way."
It was also explained that residents looking to donate for the earthquake recovery effort should do so financially. After discussions with the communities affected by the earthquake it was determined that monetary donations would be more effecitve. The increase in physical donations, like food, causes important resources be diverted away from recovery efforts and may not be needed.
Smith added that operations were staging down and some local crews were returning to their home locations.