Unsung hero: Emergency-response leader Judy Kane is ready for anything in Bayside Village

Judy Kane leads the Community Emergency Response Team at Bayside Village in Newport Beach. Here, she’s pictured in the mobile-home park’s incident command center.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

If the worst should come to Bayside Village, residents at the Newport Beach mobile-home park can take comfort in knowing they’ll see Judy Kane at her best.

Kane, who lives in the cozy park overlooking the Back Bay, leads the neighborhood’s Community Emergency Response Team. Several Newport neighborhoods have CERTs, or groups of volunteers who are trained to respond to natural or man-made disasters when police, firefighters or medics can’t be on the scene immediately. They’re ready for earthquakes, fires, plane crashes, whatever may come their way.

But not every neighborhood has an incident command center to coordinate its response.

Kane made that happen for Bayside Village.

On the community’s north side, next to the shuffleboard courts, sits a new 12-by-15-foot shed packed with supplies — a generator, first-aid kits, drinking water, cardboard splints, a defibrillator, glow sticks for emergency lighting and siphons for gasoline and to suck water out of the swimming pool to be filtered for consumption. It even has a few cans of Coca-Cola to stanch bleeding (the acidic drink helps constrict blood vessels). The lawn outside can be a triage center and a place for a helicopter to evacuate the injured.


Bayside Village has about 275 homes. It isn’t officially a retirement community, but many of its residents are older.

“If there’s a disaster, we need to help each other,” Kane said.

Judy Kane and her husband, Michael, study a map of the Bayside Village mobile-home park at its incident command center.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer )

About 2½ years ago, Kane, a 68-year-old retired insurance broker, took on the challenge of building the Bayside Village CERT. She’s taken first-aid classes from the city Fire Department and the American Red Cross, learned Morse code and earned a ham radio license. She oversees 10 “zone captains” who will search the houses closest to them.

They’ve had drills to prepare for catastrophe.

“But we don’t want it to happen, ever, ever,” Kane said.

The shed, christened in November, cost more than $10,000. The price was split between the homeowners association and Michael Gelfand, who owns the land beneath the mobile homes.

Kane has other pursuits as well. For the past 15 years, she and her husband, Michael “Irish” Kane, have run a ministry that brings the gospel to senior citizens in nursing facilities. Their network of pastors visits more than 50 facilities a week.

Judy Kane even heads Bayside Village’s Rockwell-esque Fourth of July parade.

Her husband said Kane, whom he tenderly calls Judith Ann, has a gift for organization. When she has a project, she’s definitely in charge.

“She does it really sweetly, and that’s hard to find,” he said.

This is an installment of Unsung Heroes, an annual feature that highlights otherwise overlooked members of the community.

Twitter: @Daily_PilotHD


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