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DCSO designs plan to help diasbled, elderly during emergency evacuations

Michael Schneider

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has developed a plan in order to better serve severely physically impaired persons in case of an emergency and when evacuations are necessary.

“It’s just a proactive approach,” said Undersheriff Ron Pierini of the new program. The planning stages began with the assistance of several agencies in the South Lake Tahoe area before the disastrous flooding of early January.

“We thought we ought to try to come up with a system to evacuate disabled persons if a disaster should occur. There’s a need for it, think of the floods. We only have a short period of time to evacuate anyway,” Pierini said.

The plan has been developed and will be implemented with the help of the East Fork Paramedic District, Tahoe Douglas Fire Protection District, Douglas County TRIAD, and the Douglas County Senior Services Department.

“They’re all ready to go,” said Pierini.

Pierini said that while it is reasonable to say there are at least 100 people with handicaps in the area that would qualify for the program, the DCSO is most concerned with those handicapped persons who are home alone quite a bit.

The program is for those who are concerned about being able to leave their homes in case of floods, forest fires or earthquakes, said Pierini.

Pierini said those who might benefit from the program need to answer a one-page questionnaire to have their names and vital information entered into the database.

“Once we have the information in the system, we could get the information immediately, if a situation should occur,” said Pierini.

Pierini said the form requires such information as name, physical address, phone number, and questions pertaining to the participant’s disability. Once the form is received, the information will be entered into a computer with the Douglas County Communications Center.

Pierini said that the information will be confidential and used only for the program.

The forms can be obtained at any Tahoe Douglas Fire Station, Seniors Centers at South Lake Tahoe, Calif. and in the Carson Valley, the East Fork Fire and Paramedic Districts station, Douglas County social services department, and the Douglas County Sheriff’s Offices.

Residents are asked to send the forms to: The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, P.O. Box 218, Minden, 89423.