Be Wary of Phony Safety Assessment Evaluators

Cal EMA Secretary Urges Residents of Imperial County To Be Wary of Phony Safety Assessment Evaluators SACRAMENTO – In response to reports that people posing as safety assessment evaluators are advising business owners in Calexico that they cannot operate without a safety assessment and then charging the businesses for the service, the Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), Matthew Bettenhausen, today cautioned residents of Imperial County to exercise caution in dealing with people offering services.   “It’s unfortunate that people who have seen their lives and businesses turned upside down by last Sunday’s earthquake now have to worry about people taking advantage of their situation,” said Bettenhausen.    “Because safety assessments are one of the most essential services provided by government after a disaster, they are conducted without charge.”   Bettenhausen urged homeowners, renters and business owners throughout Imperial County to ask to see a picture ID of anyone offering to conduct a safety assessment and to immediately report to their local building officials anyone who does not have an ID similar to the ones issued by Cal EMA and pictured below.
Usually, conducting safety assessments after an emergency is the responsibility of the affected cities and counties. If needed, additional help is available from approximately 6,500 building officials, architects and engineers from local government and the private sector who comprise the state’s Safety Assessment Program, which is coordinated by Cal EMA.   To support ongoing safety assessments in the wake of the earthquake, Cal EMA has deployed two SAP coordinators to the Imperial County Emergency Operations Center and four evaluators to support field operations within the county.   While they are deployed, members of the Safety Assessment Program will help local officials determine whether buildings in the affected area are safe for immediate occupancy and whether lawful entry should be allowed, restricted or prohibited.   The program, which was initiated after the 1971 San Fernando earthquake as part of a cooperative effort between the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Structural Engineers Association of California, has since become a model for other states.   Bettenhausen also encouraged homeowners, renters and business owners affected by the earthquake to report any damages they have sustained to their insurance carriers, local building departments and offices of emergency services.

Calexico Player has Professional Soccer Debut

By Mario Conde

In the mist of the recovery of the huge earthquake the hit last week here in Calexico, good news for Calexico happened Saturday as Calexico native, Issac Acuña Acuña, made his professional soccer debut at Mexico’s first division soccer league.

Twenty-year old Issac Acuña made his professional soccer debut this Saturday in the victory of his team, Club America, 3-1 against Jaguares of Chiapas. Acuña entered the games at minute thirty-five of the second half of the game. The Calexico athlete was part of the former Calexico Police Athletic League where he played basketball and soccer for five years.

Candidate for SDSU Dean

By Mario Conde

The last candidate for SDSU Dean came to Calexico as David Pearson spoke to students and staff about his vision for the Imperial Valley Campus.

David Pearson holds a Ph.D. in sociology, has been a radio host for the local PBS Radio in Texas. The candidate for dean took a different approach from the other candidates as he gave a power point presentation about his work and accomplishments as Vice-president for partnership affairs, University of Brownsville.

Calexico City Council Candidate

By Mario Conde

Calexico City Council candidate Bill Hodge believes that people who are elected to office need to be someone with strong moral character and have a governing style that is close to the people and that is what separates him from other candidates, according to him.

Imperial County Announces Preliminary Estimates from Sunday’s Earthquake

Imperial County Announces Preliminary Estimates from Sunday’s Earthquake

IMPERIAL COUNTY – Imperial County Officials have been working closely with local and state officials in response to the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that shook Imperial Valley on Sunday afternoon.
“Our thoughts are with the families and individuals that have been affected by the earthquake,” stated Louis Fuentes, Chairman for the Imperial County Board of Supervisors. “As we are assessing the damage we are finding that we were fortunate that the earthquake that hit Imperial County occurred on a day that children were not in school and many individuals were not at work.”
Following the proclamation of a local emergency by Imperial County and a State of Emergency by California Governor Schwarzenegger, local agencies are working with representatives of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA) to determine what type of assistance may be available to affected residents and government agencies. “Responders and staff have been concentrating efforts in those areas of the County that were most heavily impacted”, stated Tony Rouhotas, Director of the Imperial County Office of Emergency Services.
To date damage estimates for the cities and unincorporated areas of Imperial County exceeds $70 million. These are preliminary estimates and are expected to increase as assessments continue.
Preliminary reports and assessments indicate the following in damages: A number of mobile homes have been affected in the El Centro, Calexico and Seeley areas. Several buildings in Calexico have been red tagged due to structural damage. Structures that are red-tagged are considered extremely hazardous and may collapse.
Thursday April 8, 2010
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IMPERIAL COUNTY EMERGENCY OPERATIONS CENTER
HEBER, CA
The City of El Centro is assessing damages to local businesses. There have been interruptions to local businesses due to closures. Downtown Calexico businesses located in the areas of First to Third Streets, from Paulin Ave to Heber Ave continue to be closed and will be reopened as soon as safely possible. Imperial Valley and Calexico Transit Systems have been rerouted to Fourth and Paulin Ave. The County as a whole is seeing damages to water and waste water treatment plants in El Centro, Holtville, Imperial, Calexico and those under County jurisdiction. Calexico residents continue to be encouraged to conserve water. Residents are being asked to not wash their cars, use their sprinklers, fill their pools or otherwise use water unnecessarily. Nine County buildings and facilities have been affected. Damages range from moderate to major.
Inspectors with the Division of State Architects arrived in Imperial County on Monday of this week and have been working with local schools to assess for damages.
Calexico Elementary School District officials announced that all K-12 public schools in Calexico will not be in session the week of April 12th to allow for the relocation of students and staff due to the closure of Jefferson Elementary School. Our Lady of Guadalupe and Vincent Memorial Schools in Calexico will be closed April 12 and 13th, and anticipate reopening on April 14th. St. Mary’s School in El Centro will also be closed on April 12th and 13th, and anticipate reopening on April 14th. All other schools in Imperial County will open on Monday as previously scheduled.
The Office of Emergency Services are working with local agencies to establish public assistance centers where individuals can go if they need federal, state or local assistance. Families and individuals affected by the earthquake will be able to get additional information and access resources. The location and the hours for the assistance center will be released as soon as it becomes available.
Shelter Services are being provided by American Red Cross for residents whose housing is unsafe or who do not feel comfortable staying in their own home. Services available include food, shelter and showers. Imperial County Animal Control will provide shelter services for the animals of residents housed in the American Red Cross Shelter. The shelter is located at Ryerson Hall/Desert Trails RV Park, 225 Wake Ave, El Centro, CA. For more information please call (760) 482-4968.
The Imperial County Imperial County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has established the Imperial County Assistance Hotline to provide assistance to local residents. Residents are encouraged to contact the hotline with questions or concerns following the recent earthquake activity in Imperial County. The hotline can be reached by dialing 760-482-4968. Residents should continue to call 911 for emergencies. Hotline staff is available 24 hours to answer non-emergency questions.
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