Tuesday, Aug 06 2013 06:00 AM

New emergency route for Sand Canyon improves safety

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Thankfully, there have been no major fires in the Tehachapi area this year, yet we all know that the risk of fire is always high during the summer months. The Kern County Fire Department and my office work together throughout the year to identify areas where we can improve the safety of our residents.

Until now, there has been only one road into and out of Sand Canyon for residents to use should a fire, or other emergency, create the need to escape the area.Through a collaborative effort, the Kern County Fire Department has created 2.5 miles of rebuilt and new road as a Sand Canyon "escape route." This escape route is only to be used in the event that the main ingress and egress road, Sand Canyon Road, becomes impassable. The new escape route starts from the north at the intersection of Zimbabwe Court and Umfalozi Road, and then travels approximately 2.5 miles south to an intersection with Tehachapi Boulevard, roughly paralleling Williamson Road.

This escape route will be manned by either Kern County law enforcement, or local CERT teams, in concert with law enforcement and Kern County Fire. Each gate along the road (there are three) will be manned by a deputy or CERT crew member to ensure traffic flows freely. The escape route is only a one lane road, so traffic will only be allowed to flow in one direction, and access will be limited to essential travel only.

While no disaster can be predicted accurately, this new escape route should go a long way to assuring Sand Canyon residents that Kern County emergency responders have their best interests at heart, and are always looking for new ways to ensure the safety of all residents. I would like to thank the community of Sand Canyon, Lehigh Cement Company, the Tehachapi Fire Safe Council, the Kern County Fire Department, and the Kern County Sheriff's Office for their efforts on this. Together, we all can make a difference when disaster strikes.

ZACK SCRIVNER represents the Tehachapi area on the Kern County Board of Supervisors.



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