As Californians continue sweltering in record-breaking summer heat, we must remind ourselves of the potential dangers when temperatures soar, including increased risk of wildfires and power outages. In the past few weeks, Riverside County experienced a series of wildfires, which were primarily fueled by dry brush. These fires started on July 14, and the most significant one, the Rabbit Fire near Beaumont, scorched approximately 8,200 acres, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
While this blaze led to road closures and evacuations, we are grateful that structural damage was minimal and our member hospitals continued operating without disruption. As of this past Saturday, firefighters have successfully contained the Rabbit Fire, and the threat to residents is no longer imminent. The fire, however, serves as a poignant reminder of the potential hazards that come with extreme heat and dry conditions. Staying informed and vigilant during extreme weather is crucial to ensure the safety of our communities.
The potential for power outages during extreme weather also places our members and their patients at risk. As we have for the past several years, HASC remains in close communication with Southern California Edison (SCE) to monitor and keep hospitals updated on Public Safety Power Shutoffs (PSPS) events. These shutoffs are designed to reduce risk of wildfire during high-wind and other fire-weather events.
Advance warning about PSPS events allows hospitals to plan for temporary onsite power and inform patients with special needs. These patients require electricity for air conditioning, refrigeration for medication, oxygen, continuous positive airway pressure machines and other health-critical systems. HASC will continue to serve as an additional resource to help mitigate future disruptions.
On a celebratory note, I’m thrilled to share that the esteemed Greater San Fernando Chamber of Commerce recently bestowed an award upon HASC. On July 22, during its Summer Block Party Annual Gala, the chamber proudly recognized HASC for a century of dedicated service to our hospitals and community. This honor testifies to our commitment to supporting the local business community and making a positive impact. We’re deeply honored to receive this prestigious award and look forward to continuing our mission of serving and uplifting our community for many years to come.
Take care and stay safe.