Liquid News

Irvine Ranch Water District – Always Prepared

Fires, Floods, Earthquakes – Drills and Real Life Experience Serve as Training Tools

Irvine Ranch Water District is committed to emergency preparedness and conducts annual drills and exercises for employees. In addition, there are real-life events that put what staff has learned to the test.

“After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, IRWD crews were sent to assist in restoring water service in the hard-hit areas of Reseda and Northridge,” said IRWD Interim General Manager Paul Cook. “We sent 23 employees, who rotated through 12-hour shifts over four days to get the water flowing.”

In 1999, IRWD rolled out a 16-foot-long Emergency Response Trailer, equipped with everything needed for such a response, including orange cones, protective suits, self-contained breathing apparatus, rubber boots and gloves, two children’s wading pools used for decontamination, medical supplies, first aid kits, generators and medical monitoring equipment. When an emergency situation calls for it, the District’s highly trained hazardous materials response team utilized the Emergency Trailer to take immediate action.

In October 2007, the Santiago Fire ravaged Orange County and kept IRWD crews across many departments working around the clock to keep the water flowing to firefighters. Crews were out close to the fire lines, installing generators, operating pumps and manually measuring reservoir depths in areas where power and phone lines were knocked out by the flames. Some crews manned hoses to help protect key water facilities. One of the IRWD pump houses in the Portola Hills area was destroyed.

Last December, torrential storms caused significant damage to Williams Canyon, washing out a road along with IRWD water mains that supply water service to canyon residents. Over several days, including Christmas, crews worked in the rain providing access for equipment and constructing two water bypass lines to restore water to residents.

Practice does make perfect. Emergency drills, such as the statewide “Great Shake Out,” a six-hour Emergency Preparedness Drill in 2008. It was the largest such drill in the nation’s history and the first time IRWD had participated in a drill of that magnitude. Please visit our website for more information about emergency preparedness efforts by IRWD, or to sign up for the CodeRED emergency notification system.

Emergency drills, such as the

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