By Elizabeth Mendia
Kern Valley Sun
The Sun asked the Kern County Fire Department’s Public Information Officer, Engineer Andrew Freeborn, what information was especially important to convey to local residents.
“We want the community to know that we are concerned for them. If you live in Lake Isabella, Bodfish, or any of the other local communities, we’re watching out for them,” Freeborn said, adding that there are hundreds of firefighters from many jurisdictions actively engaged in fighting the Stagecoach Fire.
“We’ll let them know if they need to evacuate or get other important information” he added, but community members must be enrolled in the ReadyKern.com emergency notification system to receive direct notices. Individuals must add themselves into the ReadyKern.com system. The fire or sheriff’s department can’t do it for them.
Freeborn said that the department does use Twitter and other social media to notify the community, but cautioned against relying on information that does not come directly from them.
Apart from reminding citizens to comply with mandated brush clearance and existing fire restrictions, Freeborn said that persons should also understand how to report fire hazards.
Immediate threats to public safety should be reported via 911. However, fireworks, all of which are prohibited in the Kern River Valley and surrounding wildlands, should be reported online at kerncountyfire.org.
Fire hazards related to businesses, such as blocked exit doors, should be reported in-person to the Code Enforcement Officer or Assistant Fire Marshal at the Fire Marshal’s office, located at 2820 M St. in Bakersfield.
Lastly, hazards posed by un-cleared vegetation should be reported to the County’s Fire Hazard Reduction Program at 661-823-1001.