The Cambrian

Cambria health district votes to join Local Hazard Mitigation Plan

Cambria Community Healthcare District ambulance crews are relocating to a home on Camborne Place while work continues on the Main Street ambulance station.
Cambria Community Healthcare District ambulance crews are relocating to a home on Camborne Place while work continues on the Main Street ambulance station.

Cambria’s health care district is signing on to a plan that will help the community prepare for potential disasters and, potentially, qualify for federal funds.

At a special meeting Thursday, April 6, Cambria Community Healthcare District board members voted 5-0 to partner with the town’s services district on the Local Hazard Mitigation Plan.

CCSD paid Category Five Professional Consultants $30,000 in grant money and $9,500 in district funds to prepare the plan. It will cost the health district $9,850 to join in, district Administrator Bob Sayers told the board Thursday.

Sayers said he had spoken with Ron Alsop, emergency services manager for San Luis Obispo County, about possible ways to defray some of the district’s cost.

“Ron felt there was better than a 50-50 chance there will be funding available to defray those costs,” he said.

Mike Thompson, a member of the CCSD board of directors who was in the audience, told health district trustees, “I would strongly encourage you to join with us” and become “a full partner” in the plan.

According to Sayers, the money CCHD would pay for joining the plan would — among other things — cover the cost of constructing a public health profile; delineating CCHD’s role within the multijurisdictional plan; conducting a public forum; creating an action plan centered around CCHD; and creating actionable goals for mitigation.

“It’s a form of insurance,” said board member Barbara Bronson Gray. “If we don’t do it, we’ll be in a hard position to get FEMA funds.”

Also at the meeting, the board voted 5-0 to authorize the district to take part in the California Office of Emergency Services disaster funding program. State funds could be made available to help pay for damage caused by January’s storm and subsequent storms, which Sayers said caused an estimated $7 million in damage countywide.

So far, Sayers said, CCHD has incurred $23,000 in costs connected with damage to the Main Street ambulance station and subsequent relocation of ambulance crews to private property until the station can be repaired. The district’s insurance is covering a portion of its costs, he said, and CCHD would be responsible for 6 percent of any money approved by OES, he said.

The board also voted 5-0 to instruct Sayers to submit preliminary paperwork to the Federal Emergency Management Agency that could result in funds for temporary or permanent housing for ambulance crews at the CCSD Fire Department site.

Board member Shirley Bianchi stressed that the vote was not authorizing the district to apply for funds, but “only unlocking the door and opening it a tad” so that it would be eligible do so, if it so chooses, in the future.

No decision has been made about whether the district plans to continue in its 60-year-old Main Street facility or move elsewhere.

“I think this is a good way to start and just see what happens,” said board Vice President Mary Anne Meyer.

In the only other item on the agenda, Sayers provided an update on the status of housing for the ambulance crews, who have moved to a residence on Camborne Place. He said mold had been found at the site, but that the mold should be removed within the week and that the homeowner was covering the cost of its removal.