At the Nov. 21 Herald Fire Protection District (HFPD) regular meeting, Fire Chief James Hendricks announced a partnership with Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services (OES). OES has benefited from a grant, which has allowed it to purchase emergency equipment to help navigate through emergencies, specifically flooding, in the south county areas.

“This is expanding our operation, working with OES,” Hendricks said. “We are being part of a larger system, making sure we have an advanced plan in place should something happen, fire or flood; we can get people out of the way, we can notify them and we can house them.”

All of the equipment belongs to OES and OES will dispatch “feet on the ground” to utilize it during times of emergencies. Other local rural fire agencies will also receive equipment; however, Herald will house the bulk.

“They are trying to stage equipment now to the south part of the county because of the consistent flooding issues we’ve had,” Hendricks said. “Because of our geographical location, we’re ideal to have a large amount of it.”

Utilizing space at Station 87, HFPD will house two sandbagging machines, large air tent shelters, water diversion walls, front load tractor with scoop, sandbag sacks, flatbed trailers and two Conex boxes for storage.

The sandbagging machines have the capability to fill 400-500 bags an hour. One machine will be for HFPD’s use, and the other could be dispatched to another location.

Hendricks indicated that several tents would be housed with HFPD. In addition to Station 87, Arcohe Elementary has agreed to allow a shelter to be set up on its campus, should the need arise.

The shelters are large enough to facilitate cots and other equipment to get people up off the ground. According to Hendricks, one of the shelters could be used to cover the sandbagging station so those obtaining sandbags could drive into it to load while staying out of the inclement weather.

The water diversion walls are large, approximately 4 feet round, tubes that can be filled with water and, once in place, can protect a building or area from flooding. These walls will be stored on flat bed trailers and housed at the station.

Hendricks said he expects the equipment to start arriving within a couple of weeks; however, 10 pallets of sandbag sacks have already arrived.

Although none of the equipment can be used unless dispatched by OES, Hendricks would like to see HFPD volunteers trained so they would be able to assist OES workers.