Valley first responders help with aftermath of Ridgecrest Earthquake

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- It's the time of year synonymous with wildfires, but first responders and Red Cross volunteers are deploying to Southern California for earthquake relief.

Within the first 12 hours of their shift, Regional Task Force Five, comprised of Clovis, Fresno, Merced, Tulare, and Fresno County firefighters, is already hard at work.

"Homes aren't designed to shake," said Fresno Fire Battalion Chief Brian Price. "They're not designed to give like that, a lot of broken water pipes and lot of gasoline problems so we've just been helping them do what we can."

RELATED: Preliminary 7.1 magnitude earthquake hits Ridgecrest area, strong shaking felt in Valley

Price said their efforts do not stop at structural damage.

"The impact is the effect on people's psyche," he said. "It's of people being able to come to peace in their homes and trust that they're going to be OK."

While the devastation may not look the same as the Montecito mudslides or the Butte County Camp Fire that Regional Task Force Five has responded to in the past, but their presence alone is bringing reassurance to those in the areas that shook hardest.

"We met a lot of folks sleeping in their backyard because they're afraid to go back inside because of the earthquake and the possibility if there was to be another one," Price said.

RELATED: 'We just prayed:' Family describes moments their home was rocked by Ridgecrest Earthquake

Red Cross volunteers deployed when the initial quake hit the Ridgecrest area, setting up shelters and water stations.

"We have a really comprehensive plan for what could happen in the event of another disaster another emergency," said volunteer Nicole Maul. "I'm glad that the plan worked and we're ready to take in me families that have been affected."

Representatives with the American Red Cross say if you're interested in helping those impacted by the quakes, you can sign up as a volunteer or donate their website.
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