Poster #235, Communication, Education, and Outreach (CEO)

San Bernardino County Emergency Response to July 4th-5th Trona-Ridgecrest Earthquake Complex

Miles H. Wagner, & Frank F. Jordan
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Poster Presentation

2020 SCEC Annual Meeting, Poster #235, SCEC Contribution #10577 VIEW PDF
After the July 4th-5th Trona-Ridgecrest Earthquake Complex shook the Trona area, San Bernardino County responded by providing emergency aid and starting the recovery process. Pre-planned activities and information gathering started, including surveys of the community. As of July 6, Trona had no electricity and water supplies were rapidly depleted due to broken water lines. One hundred ninety-four residential homes were destroyed with 53 having major damage. Nine businesses were destroyed with major damage to five. Roadways and sidewalks were damaged and impassable.

Searles Valley Minerals Company suffered damage to their facilities on the lake and plants. Trona Railway...
had damage to the tracks, particularly in Trona and west Searles Valley, where the Paxton Ranch Fault crossed under the tracks.

The need for drinking water was primary, with distribution starting Saturday July 7 in the morning. By late Saturday, a Point of Distribution, staffed by CERT volunteers, was operational using emergency supplies and pre-positioned equipment in Trona. Starting Sunday, drinking water, ice, and limited food were distributed. Mental health services were available to those needing it.

Most utilities were restored by late Saturday July 6 with the exception of water. Non-potable water was available on Wednesday July 10, and potable water was available late Friday July 12 (8 days of no water).

Cell service was augmented with a COW (Cellular On Wheels). County emergency communications systems worked well.

Sheltering could not be established in Trona due to the lack of water. Folks unable to stay in their homes were transported to a shelter in Ridgecrest. Most air conditioning was swamp coolers so there was no cooling for people.

A Local Assistance Center was established at Trona HS where residents came to obtain assistance as needed.

Recovery efforts continued in Trona for four weeks, with continued assistance provided after this by phone or by County staff on a weekly schedule in Trona.