Emergency Preparedness Guidelines
Montage at Mission Hills Homeowners Association
We hope that each resident of Montage at Mission Hills recognizes that emergency events may occur. It is important for you and your family to be prepared to be self-sufficient for several days. Depending on the magnitude and scope of the emergency it can be expected that all public emergency services (fire, police, etc.) will be completely consumed with damage assessment and triage for those most in need. The Montage at Mission Hills Homeowners Association cannot provide for and/or safeguard the safety and security of Association members in the event of an emergency, nor is the Association obligated to do so under the CC&Rs and/or California Civil Code.
Montage at Mission Hills residents are encouraged to create their own informal neighborhood communication systems to ensure that they are aware of the emergency and the status of their neighbors. This system can be facilitated through an informal Neighbor Helping Neighbor system where residents are encouraged to self-structure and implement telephone calling lists and physical checks on neighbors identified as potentially needing assistance in an emergency. Consistent with the concept of “shelter in place” residents are encouraged to attempt to secure contact by telephone; however, direct contact will be appropriate in the event that telephone communications are not available consistent with safety and not in conflict with instructions from authorized public safety personnel.
Many potential emergencies can be identified, but detailed planning for the total scope is not realistic within the resources of individual Residents and the Association or, for that matter, our local governments. We have attempted to identify the scope of unexpected events that are most likely to affect Montage at Mission Hills. The narrative is structured to provide guidance to individual residents of Montage at Mission Hills, and to the Association, to prepare for disasters and respond appropriately when an emergency event occurs. The Plan focuses on:
- Articulating the Association philosophy and policy regarding responsibility for emergency planning and response.
- Defining the types of unexpected events that may affect our community.
- Identifying the responsibility of individuals and the Association to prepare for and respond to each potential event.
- Outlining procedures needed to respond to an unexpected event.
- Defining actions needed to return Montage to normal following a disaster.
Policy Base for Emergency Preparedness in Montage at Mission Hills
It is assumed that our residents have the ability to individually plan for and respond to emergencies. But, there are three elements that require heightened concern for emergency preparedness and response: 1) Although the majority of our residents are active, we do have residents who by virtue of advanced age or physical limitations may be impaired in their ability to care for themselves in an emergency situation. 2) We occasionally have a significant number of short term vacationing residents. 3) Montage at Mission Hills has a significant number of seasonal residents.
The Montage at Mission Hills Homeowners Association, will post information on its website developed by qualified agencies and organizations on how to structure this planning but the Association will not provide direct assistance. The Association shall be responsible for protection of the commonly-owned facilities only.
To be effective, proper response to unexpected events is based upon a set of five basic and realistic assumptions.
1. The primary role in emergency preparedness and response as it relates to individuals and residences rests with the individual homeowner. Responsibility of the Association is focused on protection of the property of the Association, with a secondary focus on assisting members of the Association in obtaining information and education related to personal emergency planning.
2. All residents are, in the event of an emergency, obligated to become informed of the event and respond to directions issued by the City, County, State and Federal emergency management officials.
3. The Association does not support “first responder” actions by residents unless those residents are trained, authorized to respond and supervised by a governmental agency. It does encourage individuals to “be aware of their neighbors” and develop neighbor support and assistance programs.
4. Response to the majority of disasters that could impact Montage at Mission Hills will fit the definition of “shelter in place.” This reflects the belief that individuals are safer remaining in the home and those residents should not contribute to an emergency by impeding movement of qualified emergency personnel or placing themselves in a dangerous situation.
5. The concept of “shelter in place” implies that there is a necessity that residents take appropriate measures to ensure that, absent a serious medical emergency or official direction to leave, they will have the resources to remain in the home without assistance for a period of at least 72 hours.
Emergency Response in the Montage at Mission Hills Context
When viewed in a broad context, a long list of potential natural and human-caused disasters can be made, and the appropriate response will differ by event. It is, however, not reasonable to plan for every conceivable event. Rather it is realistic to define those events that could occur in the Coachella Valley area and identify them by the probability of occurrence and impact on Montage at Mission Hills.
Emergency/Disruptive Events That Can Impact Montage at Mission Hills
A disaster is an unexpected event that can result in significant harm to lives and/or property, as well as disruption in daily activities. Potential emergency and/or disruptive events can be classified by the level of occurrence probability and the potential degree of impact on our Community.
Events posing the greatest risk to Montage
- Extreme Heat or Extended Periods of High Temperature
- Severe Thunderstorms
Events posing significant risk to Montage
Events posing limited risk to Montage
- Utility System Accident or Failure
- Aircraft Accident
- Disease Pandemic
- Chemical Transport Accident
- Communications Failure
- Acts of Terrorism
Each of these events can impact Montage at Mission Hills in a different way and require a different response.
Disasters Posing the Greatest Risk
Disasters defined in this category pose the greatest risk to Montage at Mission Hills because of the high likelihood that one or more will be experienced in any given year. In most cases they are predictable events.
Extreme Heat or Extended Periods of High Temperature: Severe air temperature events may occur periodically, particularly successive days of high temperature. These may be defined as emergency events in that air conditioning in the home may be lost as a result of utility system overload. This can present a life-threatening situation for some of our residents. Neither individuals nor the Association can positively plan for these events. Residents can mitigate the effects by maintaining a stock of food that can be prepared without the use of kitchen appliances.
In this type of event, understanding the problem is critical. However, the Association has no greater ability to obtain information than individuals have. It is recommended that residents work with their neighbors to maintain contact with one another and share information,
Each resident household is responsible for stockpiling adequate supplies of water (generally three days supply per person) at their home at all times.
Severe Thunderstorms and Lightning Strikes: This is a common event in high and low desert that is unavoidable. Individuals can only be aware of approaching storms and seek shelter as needed. Severe damage to homes is possible but the response must be defined as an individual responsibility. Following a storm, utility services may be lost. Residents should be prepared as with severe temperature events to subsist for a period of at least 72 hours.
Disasters Posing Significant Risk
Fire: A fire emergency can occur in individual homes and on Montage-owned open space. Response and suppression of fires is the responsibility of fire agencies. Residents are encouraged to purchase and maintain fire extinguishers and maintain their smoke detectors. Community evacuation would only be on specific direction from emergency management personnel.
Earthquake: Earthquakes represent a significant concern in the Coachella Valley. A recent forecast from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) says that the risk of a mega-quake is more likely than previously thought: The chance of a magnitude-8 quake somewhere in California in the next 30 years is 7%, up from their previous estimate of 4.7%. The new report takes into account newly discovered fault zones and the possibility that a quake can jump from fault to fault. A copy of the earthquake report can be found by clicking on this link.
While they can’t be sure where the next big earthquake will strike in California, consider that the southern segment of the San Andreas Fault — which runs from central California to the Salton Sea in the Coachella Valley — remains a great threat since it hasn’t ruptured in more than 300 years.
And even somewhat “smaller” earthquakes are extremely likely in the next 30 years. Experts predict that the odds of a magniturde-7 earthquake in the next 30 years is 93%. And the chances of a 6.7 quake — the same size as the 1994 Northridge earthquake — is 99%
An earthquake could severely damage a large number of dwellings throughout Montage as well as the Association’s infrastructure. The initial impact is quite serious and can have long-term consequences for the victims. Although it is impossible to protect property from an earthquake, it is the responsibility of each individual to take measures to protect him or herself. Specific guidance is offered by public emergency management agencies and links to these agencies can be found on the Montage website.
A first-aid base and command post may be needed by the government emergency responders. The Association has designated the Chagall Court cul-de-sac for this purpose. The Association management may direct individuals to other places of refuge within the Association when an emergency or disaster event is experienced.
Disasters Posing Limited Risk
Several potential disasters can be identified that would have limited impact on Montage or that can be classified as having limited probability of occurring.
Disease Pandemic: Response to pandemics is an area-wide action managed by public health authorities. For pandemics, such as Flu or other communicable diseases, the Association recommends that residents prepare appropriately by obtaining any recommended vaccinations.
Aircraft Accident: Montage at Mission Hills is located under the takeoff/landing route of Palm Springs International Airport, and therefore the potential for an accident in Montage must be considered. Such an event would be localized and affect a limited number of houses; however, because the entire community is within the route, it cannot be predicted where an accident might occur. Response to such an incident requires professional skills and specialized equipment. Impacted individual residents should follow directions from emergency management personnel.
Flooding: Montage at Mission Hills is situated within in the area of a 500 year flood (.02% annual flood chance) due to our proximity to the White Water River and the Levee. That would mean a chance of flooding once in every 500 years. Flooding, particularly flash flooding is frequently associated with severe thunderstorms and extended periods of rain. The homes in Montage at Mission Hills are generally not at risk for this type of event.
Chemical Transport Accident: Montage is situated at the intersection of two major Coachella Valley thoroughfares—Gerald Ford Drive and Da Vall Drive. An accident involving a vehicle carrying chemicals and flammable products can represent a serious threat. Typically these types of events impact a relatively small area. With no active rail lines near Montage at Mission Hills and the nearest major highway approximately five miles away, the likelihood of danger to Montage from a chemical spill from a vehicular accident is low. It is possible for an accident to occur on Gerald Ford Drive or Da Vall Drive, but the impact would likely affect only those homes along the perimeter of the development. This could involve evacuation of the affected homes but would not likely require evacuation of the entire Association. Any required evacuation would be directed by incident managers from the public agencies responsible for the response. The Association has no authority to order evacuations.
Terrorism: Acts of terrorism represent potential emergency events. These can involve release of biological and chemical agents, explosions, weapons of mass destruction, contamination of water supplies, and interruption of vital services. By their nature, these are not events for which individuals or the Association can plan in advance. Measures such as individuals maintaining emergency food supplies and copies of vital records where they are easily accessible represent the most appropriate preparation.
Emergency Planning and Response Responsibility in Montage at Mission Hills
Emergency planning and response responsibility shall occur at two levels: 1) Individual and 2) Association. At the individual level all homeowners are obligated to make themselves aware of the potential emergencies and basic preparedness needs. Residents have primary responsibility for their own safety and the ability to support themselves during an emergency event. All residents of Montage at Mission Hills should at a minimum prepare for unexpected events by:
- Learning their role in responding to emergencies and having a basic understanding of the responsibility structure for delivery of emergency services.
- Encouraging individuals to assure that the Association has current emergency contact information on their household by completing the appropriate Association Forms.
- Having the capability to receive announcements of potential emergencies (such as an emergency broadcast radio and enrollment in Riverside County Early Warning System or other notification services, and knowing how to respond.
Developing a personal emergency preparedness plan.
Association residents are encouraged to assemble a kit of emergency supplies that will sustain all members of their household for a minimum of 72 hours.
Information and guidance relative to personal emergency preparedness prepared by official emergency management agencies and organizations can be found on this website and on the Internet, or by contacting your local or regional emergency preparedness agencies.
For example, Cathedral City and Riverside County Emergency Services Department both provide information on their websites regarding weather and emergency alerts from the city of Cathedral City and other public safety agencies. On this same website, under Fire Department, there is information about the use of the Knox Box which gives first responders the ability to enter the Community in the event of an emergency.
All homeowners are encouraged to obtain and utilize a Vile of Life for their home for access by emergency personnel in the event of occupant incapacity. The Vile of Life form provides emergency contact and medical information. The Vile of Life form may be obtained on the Association website.
At the Association level the Association may direct individuals to sources of educational information available to help them prepare and respond to emergencies and may provide appropriate facilitation support to emergency services providers as requested. Primary responsibility of the Association is to respond to the impact of an emergency on the common property and operations of the Association.
These responsibilities are directed at:
- Providing information to residents via printed matter, archive materials and web links to information about emergency preparedness.
- Providing informational presentations to residents at General Meetings of the Association.
- Supporting resident attendance at hosted training programs, when feasible, by qualified agencies on how to prepare and respond to emergencies.
- Maintaining business continuity by ensuring that the Association can continue to provide services to Montage and return to service as quickly as possible.
Protecting Association property.
Business continuity planning shall be a responsibility of Association management and focus on:
- Protecting important Association records, both digital and hard-copy records— including governing documents, building plans, financial documents, contracts, bank accounts, insurance policies, and contact information.
- Maintaining a list of vendors which may be needed in emergency response and overseeing a procedure and process to respond when an unexpected event occurs.
- Maintaining agreements with vendors that include a process to ensure speedy, cost-effective services after a disaster strikes.
Planning for the protection of Association property shall be accomplished through:
- Formalization of a process for regular checking of emergency systems and supplies.
- Maintenance of a list of owners, employees, and local relief personnel.
- Managing a process for speedy removal of debris, repair of vital structures, and remediation of damaged Association property.
Response During an Emergency
Response to emergencies and disasters will vary based on the type of emergency as described above. Two key actions, however, are common to all emergencies and should be employed by all residents:
- Obtain information through use of an emergency radio, or contact from the city of Cathedral City, other nearby cities or the County’s Emergency system.
- Follow instructions from emergency management officials.
The Association encourages all residents to purchase an emergency radio and to enter both landline and cell phone numbers in the Riverside County emergency wireless and email website (http://www.emergencyemail.org ) and any appropriate Cathedral City emergency systems. Emergency radios are inexpensive and if left activated at all times will provide accurate information on the emergency. If residents have signed up for these services, the Cathedral City and the Riverside County Early Warning Notification System are designed to contact individuals within the specific area where an emergency has been declared.
Montage at Mission Hills Resident Communications Options
Montage at Mission Hills residents are encouraged to create an informal neighborhood communication system to ensure that they are aware of the emergency and the status of their neighbors. This system can be facilitated through an informal Neighbor Helping Neighbor system where residents are encouraged to self-structure and implement telephone calling lists and physical checks on neighbors identified as potentially needing assistance in an emergency. Consistent with the concept of “shelter in place” residents are encouraged to attempt to obtain contact by telephone; however, direct contact will be appropriate in the event that telephone communications are not available consistent with safety and not in conflict with instructions from authorized public safety personnel.
Residents are encouraged to explore the feasibility of establishing a neighbor to neighbor social network and, if feasible, develop and maintain the system. Another option is for Association members to use the Association’s Nextdoor/Montage website. Networks of this nature function through the Internet and allow participants to communicate with one another to request assistance and share information. Although wide-spread power outages could make this type of system inoperable for most emergencies it would be available. Such a system will not be hosted by the Association and will utilize no cost services offered by sources such as Internet service providers or search sites. It should be developed and managed by residents.
Although the appropriate response to the majority of unexpected events that could impact Montage at Mission Hills will be to remain in the home, in certain emergencies, evacuation may be ordered by emergency management officials. Authority for evacuation does not rest with the Association. It is important that evacuation commence only after ordered by designated government incident management personnel and residents follow instructions from them in order to avoid adversely impacting emergency response efforts.
A map is available on the City of Cathedral City website delineating the road system in the vicinity of our community. A map of the streets within the Association is located on the Association website. All residents are encouraged to keep copies of both maps in their home and in their vehicles so that they will be better prepared to follow the instructions of emergency management personnel.
In the event of a major emergency, professional first-responders will be overwhelmed. You may volunteer to support disaster efforts in Cathedral City. You can receive training and volunteer with a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT was developed in southern California in the 1980’s. Many of Montage at Mission Hills residents have participated in training provided by Mission Hills Country Club or the Cathedral City Fire Department. CERT training classes are held on an ongoing basis. Call the Cathedral City Emergency Manager at (760) 770-8204.
The Neighborhood Team Program (NTP) developed by the City of Los Angeles brings the (CERT) concept down to the neighborhood level — Neighbors Helping Neighbors — and can be a model for residents wanting to organize their neighborhood to be ready to help each other. For information, go to the NTP-LA website
In order to keep your family safe in an emergency it is important to plan in advance what you will do. Review your immediate surroundings, and take note of whatever you have on hand to take care of yourself and your loved ones. Think about the places where your family spends time: school, work, or other places where you might be when a crisis happens. Meet with your family and talk about why you need to prepare for a disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Make sure home emergency supplies are on hand and readily available.