CROOKED RIVER RANCH, Ore. - Crooked River Ranch has set up an emergency operations center at the fire station to help deal with the expected influx of emergency calls this weekend.
This is the first time the sprawling rural subdivision has used an emergency operations center, and the idea is to lessen the load of calls first responder have to deal with.
Assistant Fire Chief Sean Hartley hopes that the call center will be very beneficial.
“Handle the simpler questions at a lower level,” Hartley said Thursday. “Free up emergency crews to be able to respond to calls for need, calls for service.”
Homeowners Association President David Palmer said the idea came about this past winter, when heavy snowstorms and their impacts caused phones to ring off the hook.
“The intent of an emergency operations center is, at the strategic level, to ensure that emergency preparations and emergency management during the course of major events, major emergencies are taken care of ,and that the various entities involved stay up and running efficiently,” Palmer said.
The homeowners association, along with the fire department and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office, wanted to provide a place that residents could call to get questions answered without having to contact a first responder during a busy event like the eclipse, or a wildfire.
The call center is run by volunteers, which helps to keep the cost of running it low.
“We have our volunteers answering the phones so that if there is a lot going on, the sheriffs don’t have to be bothered with it, the fire department doesn’t have to be bothered with it,” Palmer said. “If there is logistical support needed by either one that the ranch can provide by its maintenance department or its roads division, that’s what the association's activity in that is being.”
Organizers of the emergency operations center say that if things go well this weekend, they hope they will be able to use this same center again for big events in the future.