Category Archives: Fire Main

Instructions for dealing with ash

If your home was impacted by the Thomas Fire, here are some health precautions to take after you return home and before you begin the clean- up process.

If a structure on your property was destroyed during the recent fire, then you must wait for the proper authorities to approve and direct your clean-up. However, many people evacuated their home and later returned to find their house intact. Often, a significant amount of ash can be found on and around your home. People in this latter situation do not need permission to clean up their property.

Do not advise ash clean-up while ash is still falling and the situation is unpredictable. Wait until conditions improve.

Avoid skin contact with ash. Ash from burned homes and other items will likely contain metals, chemicals, and potentially asbestos, items that may be considered toxic if breathed in or touched with wet skin. If you do get ash on your skin, wash it off immediately. Some wet ash can cause chemical burns.

Inhaled ash may be irritating to the nose, throat and lungs. In order to avoid possible health problems, the following steps are recommended.

Avoid doing activities that stir up ash. Do not allow children to play in ash or be in an area where ash-covered materials are being disturbed. Wash ash off toys before children play with them.

Clean ash off pets.

Wear a tight fitting N95 respirator mask, gloves, boots, long-sleeved shirts and long pants when cleaning up ash.

Avoid getting ash into the air as much as possible. Avoid sweeping it up dry. Use water and wet cloth or mop to clean items and surfaces.

Under any circumstances, do not use leaf blowers!

If you have symptoms that may be related to exposure to smoke or soot, consult your doctor. Symptoms include repeated coughing, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, wheezing, chest tightness or pain, palpitations, headaches and nausea or unusual fatigue or lightheadedness.

County launches rental assistance program for fire victims

The County of Ventura Board of Supervisors has approved the use of $500,000 in General Fund to establish a rental assistance program for eligible residents who cannot return to their homes due to the impact of local wildfires.  The program, which expands upon current rental assistance programs for low-income households administered by the County of Ventura Human Services Agency, will began accepting applications Wednesday, December 13th

Eligibility criteria for the program include:  county residency; displacement from housing due to local wildfires; financial ability to maintain housing after receiving assistance; and a household income up to 120% of the median income for the local area, based on household size.  The yearly income limit for a household of one person, for example, is $84,000.  For a household of two, the income limit is $96,000, and for a household of four, the income limit is $119,880.

 “Short term rental assistance will help our lower and middle income neighbors who lost their homes get back on their feet more quickly,” said Steve Bennett, County Supervisor for the First District. “Individuals and families with children need the stability of a home to regain some normalcy in their lives and return to work or school while they make longer term plans.”

The new program may offer eligible fire victims help with:  interim housing, rental payments, replacement of household and personal items, moving and storage costs, rental deposits, utility deposits and payments, and credit counseling, as needed.  Barry Zimmerman, Human Services Agency Director stated, “We have years of experience running similar programs successfully, so we can implement this one quickly and ensure that assistance begins to flow.”

Beginning Wednesday, December 13th, information about applying for this new program may be found in English and Spanish on the Ventura County Recovers website, which provides a comprehensive source of information for all matters relating to fire recovery, and on the Ventura County Human Services Agency’s web site (www.vchsa.org/help).

Ventura County Recovers: www.VenturaCountyRecovers.org

Human Services Agency:  www.vchsa.org/help

Ventura County and City of Ventura open “One-Stop” Local Assistance Center at Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura

On Wednesday, December 13, the County of Ventura and the City of Ventura will open a Local Assistance Center at the Poinsettia Pavilion in Ventura. Located at 3451 Foothill road in Ventura, the center is a one-stop resource for residents affected by the Thomas Fire.

The Local Assistance Center will be open Monday through Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., for the next two weeks, and longer if necessary. The hours are subject to change depending on demand. Bilingual staff will be available to provide assistance.

The center will be staffed by representatives from the County of Ventura, the City of Ventura, and nine state agencies, including the Department of Motor Vehicles. The County is also working on providing additional service centers in the Ojai and Santa Clara Valley areas for social, health care and permitting services. The Local Assistance Center is a short-term facility and will close after the initial recovery period, but the services will remain available at the normal city and county offices.

Residents will be able to use the Local Assistance Center to start their recovery from the fire. There will be information on debris removal, permits, housing, rental assistance, vital records, property assessments, public assistance, crisis intervention and stress management, and even services such as replacing driver’s licenses. Health care resources will be available on site to provide assistance, education, and connections to other health services in the community.

The center is expected to be very busy and, although walk-ins will be welcomed, appointments are strongly encouraged. Residents with appoints will receive priority service. Appointments can be made on the Ventura County Recovers website or by calling 211. Those requiring transportation to the center can call the hotline at (805) 465-6650.

To further aid fire victims, Ventura County Recovers is now offering a registration feature that allows residents to register their contact information to receive information on specific topics. They can also register the address of their damaged or destroyed property so that officials can proactively provide them with information and official notices related to the rebuilding process.

Because there will be numerous updates to the site as new information becomes available, registering on the site will help to ensure that current information gets to the people who need it most.

The registration feature is fully accessible by mobile, tablet and desktop devices.

Free ads in the Breeze Dec. 20 issue if related to fire information.

In the Dec.20 issue of the Ventura Breeze we will post for free any fire related information that might help Venturan’s. Such as what your needs are? What you have to give others? Volunteering to help others, looking for a place to rent, have a place to rent or to share. No retail businesses please just folks helping each other during these awful times.

Send information to editor@venturabreeze.com.

Ventura County United Way, American Red Cross and Sheriff’s Office team up to create Thomas Fire Fund

The United Way of Ventura County, American Red Cross of Ventura County, and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services have teamed up to create the Thomas Fire Fund. The Thomas Fund, where 100% of your donations will support those in our community affected by the wildfire. To donate: Text “UWVC” to 41444, go to www.vcunitedway.org or call 805 485 6288. Checks may also be sent to United Way’s at 702 County Square Dr. Ste. 100 Ventura, CA 93003