On June 20th, the Office of Emergency Services completed installation of one Emergency Satellite Call Box at the Purdon Crossing of the South Yuba River. The call box will provide visitors a quick way to report an emergency situation without cell service. It operates on the Iridium Everywhere system ensuring operation in remote areas and is powered by solar panels. The Purdon Satellite Call Box Project will help alleviate emergency needs within the area and will provide a "proof of concept" for current and future emergency communication grants within the area. PG&E provided the grant funding for this call box project.
With approximately 1,500 visitors to the Yuba River each day during the summer season and a lack of cell service due to its remote location, there is a heightened public safety hazard in the area. Current response times are upwards of twenty minutes before emergency responders can reach the crisis location. The Purdon Satellite Call Box provides close access for visitors to call 911 when they would otherwise have to drive out of the Yuba River canyon until they received cell service to report an emergency.
Sheriff's Captain Shannan Moon said, "Unfortunately, river and fire emergencies happen every year in the South Yuba River Canyon. Having emergency call boxes in the area will allow our first responders to be alerted of emergency events faster, potentially saving lives."
The Purdon Satellite Call Box was recently identified as an action item by the Yuba River Public Safety Cohort in order to decrease emergency response delays. The Safety Cohort is a multi-agency workgroup that includes Federal, State and local agencies and organizations that have identified various initiatives in order to promote public safety and law enforcement efforts at the South Yuba River.
District 4 Supervisor, Hank Weston, said, "The South Yuba River Cohort has been instrumental in getting multiple public agencies together in one room to identify safety issues in the South Yuba River canyon, and put plans into action as to how we can address them. Installing emergency call boxes at the most remote entry locations to the South Yuba River is a step in the right direction for improving emergency response."
Vandalism has been an issue with existing signs in remote locations such as Purdon Crossing. Officials are asking the community to help prevent and report any vandalism in an effort to keep the Wild and Scenic South Yuba River Corridor beautiful and, most importantly, safe for all visitors.
"This emergency call box is an extremely important resource for visitors to our community and it needs to be protected. This is your lifeline," says Supervisor Hank Weston.