While most communities in northern California were struggling through recent power outages, the tribal community of Blue Lake Rancheria was mostly operating normally, courtesy of stand-alone, solar-powered mini-electrical grids it had installed in preparation for such events.

The grids are the centerpiece of the community’s comprehensive emergency strategy, which was developed in part by one community resident with material he garnered from training courses at the Center for Domestic Preparedness.

“I often take home lessons learned from the CDP and implement them into (community) policies and procedures, and response plans,” said Josh Reed, who is also executive director of the Blue Lake Tribal Gaming Commission.

According to Reed, the micro grids were able to, among other things, keep internet, telephone, and Wi-Fi service operational, water and wastewater treatment systems running, and fuel pumps working so first responders could gas up their vehicles.

The grids also provided power to the local hotel where eight people with acute medical needs were relocated.  

The tribe also helped those in the surrounding area during the outages, said Reed.

It provided emergency diesel for backup generators so perishable medicines at a health clinic could be kept cold and oxygen could continue to be pumped into the waters of a local fish hatchery.

In addition, it provided a dedicated site where regional media outlets could work and broadcast emergency information to the public.

Reed said the tribe is not resting on its laurels, however.  It is working on becoming even more resilient, again with his assistance.

“Currently we are updating our hazard mitigation plan, and I am contributing to that based on training I received at the CDP,” he said.