On Thursday morning, January 28th, San Bernardino County declared emergency evacuations of the recent burn areas surrounding the cities of Yucaipa, Forest Falls, Oak Glen, Mountain Home Village, and Mentone. Several displaced households were directed to the American Red Cross Temporary Evacuation Point (TEP) setup at Redlands East Valley High School in the City of Redlands.
Heavy rains and mudslides were expected to cause dangerous life-threatening conditions in the recent mountain burn areas. All residents in the affected areas were ordered to evacuate before the storm descended upon their communities.
Red Cross volunteers established a 24/7 TEP for affected residents to register for hotel rooms. Snacks and hydration were also available at the TEP location. Red Cross volunteers were there to provide breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the San Bernardino DoubleTree Hotel where clients were placed.
Due to COVID-19 conditions, the Red Cross temporarily suspended the use of congregate emergency sheltering. TEP locations use extreme COVID-19 precautions to keep both the volunteers and clients protected. The use of sophisticated communication technology has increased at the Red Cross frontlines to help improve services and streamline the process of assisting clients.
Although there was a potential for extreme danger and long stays in hotels, the event only lasted under 24 hours and all residents were allowed back into their homes.
The Hebbard family (Zion, Nicole, Zane, Angelia, and Aaron) spent the night at the DoubleTree Hotel after being told by a friend that they were being evacuated from their Mountain Home Village community. While the kids were excited to be in a hotel, parents were concerned about what the outcome of the severe weather will be.
Another family of seven happy to be going home is the Davis family. Savannah Davis, her five kids, and her mother learned of the evacuation on Thursday night and the Red Cross placed them at the DoubleTree. The kids were excited about being away from home, but Savannah and her mom Shawn Baker were very much concerned about damage to their home and/or if there would be a way to get back home if roads were affected.
Both families reported that the Red Cross volunteers and the DoubleTree Hotel staff took very good care of them, being kind, friendly, and provided for most of their needs while away from home.
For more information on becoming a Red Cross Volunteer, go to redcross.org and click on the volunteer tab.