By Logan Hall
The County of Ventura is stepping up its disaster preparedness in the Ojai Valley. By stationing a second cache of emergency supplies, called a Mass Casualty Trailer, in Oak View – the other trailer is currently at Ventura County Fire Station 22 in Meiners Oaks – emergency crews will have access to crucial supplies in the event of an accident or disaster where many people need medical attention.
According to county officials, the MCT will be stocked with supplies that would not be available on an ambulance in mass quantities. Items like stretchers, bandages, medical tape and other general first aide supplies are stocked in the trailers and kept at secure locations and are ready to be deployed if needed. No drugs or needles are stocked in MCTs.
“We’ll now have a trailer on the east and west end of the valley,” said county supervisor administrative assistant Cindy Cantle. “If there’s a disaster, we’ll have the same capabilities on both ends of the valley. We’ll have those supplies right there in Ojai.”
The tandem-axle, Journey-model trailer, made by Pace American, will be under the control of the local Community Emergency Response Team, and will help with supply needs during anything ranging from a natural disaster to an accident involving multiple victims like a bus crash. Ojai resident Norm Plott, who is the Ventura County Fire Department Emergency Medical System battalion chief, says the trailers could help substantially in a major incident. “In event of an earthquake or other significant incident,” said Plott, “those trailers are designed to treat a lot of people.”
Plott also says that in the event that Ojai became isolated from outside communities, emergency supplies would already be in the area in the form of the two MCTs. “Back in the floods in the early 2000s,” he said, “the (Highway) 150 was closed and other areas near Creek Road washed out. Those trailers can help treat a lot of people.”
The County will deliver the trailer to the Oak View Park and Resource Center on Thursday.