Emergency preparedness bolstered in town of Washington | TheUnion.com

Emergency preparedness bolstered in town of Washington

Washington Fire Chief Mike Stewart, middle, and Nevada City Councilman Doug Fleming, right, stand in front of the Washington Fire Department and its 1981 fire truck. Stewart and Fleming, along with MD&M Consulting, were instrumental in securing the $101,024 grant to help bolster the community of Washington’s emergency preparedness. Stewart and Fleming have already submitted another grant aimed at purchasing a new fire truck for the station.
Photo: Elias Funez

When Public Safety Power Shut-offs occur in the town of Washington, or when inclement weather disrupts power to the riverside town located 18 miles east of Nevada City, people have had to resort to boiling water as a result of the town’s water treatment plant going offline.

Soon that will change after a $101,024 California Office of Emergency Services grant was recently awarded to the community of Washington. That money will go toward purchasing two emergency generators, one of which will power the water treatment and filtration plant. The other is for the Washington Fire Department building, which also houses the Washington County Water District.

“We lose power more than anyone in California,” Washington Fire Chief Mike Stewart said as he described the challenges of their electrical grid, which brings power over two mountain ridges from Yuba County.

“Now the residents can have water during a PSPS,” Stewart said.

Money from the grant will also go toward purchasing battery-operated radios for the volunteer fire department, as well as updating the local emergency plan in accordance with Cal OES guidelines covering power outages and other disasters.

“Whenever there is a planned power outage, this community suffers,” Nevada County Office of Emergency Services Program Coordinator Paul Cummings said. “So this will provide some resiliency for that.”

Cummings, along with Stewart, his son Colin Stewart, Nevada City Councilman Doug Fleming, and Cal OES Inland region Emergency Services Coordinator Sarah Murdock, could be seen helping the Food Bank of Nevada County with a food distribution Wednesday in front of Washington’s fire station. Emergency meal kits and wildfire preparedness materials were also handed out during the event, which the food bank plans to make a monthly occurrence.

“We’re in the ’ready’ part of ’ready, set, go,’” Cummings said. “We’re hoping some of this stuff makes it into their go-bags.”


Fleming, along with MD&M Consulting and Stewart, were instrumental in securing the $101,024 grant for the town of Washington and have already submitted another grant request, this one to FEMA’s Assistance to Firefighters Grants program, for around $200,000.

If awarded, the $200,000 grant would go toward purchasing a new fire truck as well as water pumps that could access the nearby South Fork Yuba River to help fight fires if needed.

Washington Fire Department’s newest and current firefighting engine dates back to 1981.

To contact Multimedia Reporter Elias Funez, email efunez@theunion.com or call 530-477-4230.


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