Agreement renewed for use of school facilities for emergency shelters

Print Article

With the threat of the Gibraltar Ridge fire looming nearby in Eureka, the Whitefish School District and the Red Cross have renewed an agreement to use school facilities as an emergency shelter.

The school district and the Red Cross drew up the agreement in 2015 when the Reynolds Creek Fire, among others in Glacier National Park, caused some pre-evacuation notices and had the Red Cross looking for options in case the situation worsened.

The Whitefish School Board approved the contract unanimously Aug. 17.

“I think it’s fairly common for school districts to have these agreements with Red Cross,” Superintendent Heather Davis Schmidt said. “Because of the Gibraltar Ridge fire in Eureka the Red Cross has contacted us again and asked for further assistance and asked us to up our agreement in case that should be necessary. Looking at how that fire is going right now, it may also be unnecessary. Things have been improving.”

The Gibraltar Ridge fire east of Eureka started Aug. 7 and has burned about 5,000 acres. Wildfires in western Montana continue to grow.

The agreement allows the district to permit the Red Cross to occupy school facilities as a service center, for the storage of supplies, for the parking of vehicles and as a disaster shelter in the case of an emergency.

A Red Cross facility manager will be appointed to oversee activities at the school facilities, while the school district will appoint its own coordinator to work alongside the Red Cross.

The district will not charge a fee for the use of school facilities. The Red Cross will reimburse for damage of property, custodial and food service costs, and utility costs, including water, gas, electricity and waste disposal.

Davis Schmidt said the only true cost to the district would be if an emergency overlapped with classes. However, she said the district has an obligation to open its doors to whoever is in need.

“There would be a significant opportunity cost if the use of the facilities conflicted with the start of school or if school was in session,” she said. “Regardless, I think as a school system, we have a responsibility to help out our neighbors in need.”

“We are one organization within the Whitefish community, and it’s true of all communities, the schools are often those facilities that can provide for those kinds of needs,” she added. “It’s nice to be able to think about how we support each other in an emergency or crisis.”

Print Article

Read More

Students earn state award for skateboard rack design

November 15, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Whitefish Pilot When three Whitefish Independent High School students noticed that their school lacked a place to secure skateboards, they knew they could develop a solution. Students Tully Zander, Nathan Buckley ...

Comments

Read More

Program looks at Western writer Dorothy Johnson

November 15, 2017 at 11:13 am | Daily Inter Lake The Northwest Montana Posse of Westerners hosts a program by Whitefish’s Bob Brown titled “Story of Dorothy Johnson: Montana’s Fictional Feminist” Monday, Nov. 20. Brown will talk about the Whitefis...

Comments

Read More

Place to call home

November 15, 2017 at 8:53 am | Whitefish Pilot Jessie Farnes grew up in Whitefish and left for college and a career, then when she and her husband began having a family they wanted to move to a place that felt like home. Whitefish was a clear c...

Comments

Read More

Plan sets guidelines for creating affordable housing

November 15, 2017 at 5:00 am | Whitefish Pilot Whitefish now has a guide in its quest to provide affordable housing for its workforce. The Whitefish Strategic Housing Plan has been described as a roadmap for creating affordable housing for the ...

Comments

Read More

Contact Us

(406) 862-3505
312 E. Second Street
Whitefish, MT 59937

©2017 Whitefish Pilot Terms of Use Privacy Policy
X
X