Access and Functional Needs Concerns Met During Recent California Emergencies

November 13th, 2019

Vance Taylor

In this episode of All Hazards (#69) we talk with Vance Taylor; he’s the chief of the Office of Access and Functional  Needs at Cal OES. Topics of conversation include the importance of partnerships, issues and concerns related to AFN that come up during nearly every emergency in California, and how Taylor and his team tackle those problems before, during and after the emergency strikes.

Vance is responsible for ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities and persons with access and functional needs are identified before, during and after a disaster. Vance is a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for individuals with disabilities.  He has a Master's degree in homeland security from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in communications.

Links

Our previous episode with Vance Taylor

Area Agency On Aging

California Foundation For Independent Living Centers

State Council Developmental Disabilities

American Red Cross

Partnership For Inclusive Disaster Strategies

 

 

 

 

Share | Download

Podcast: Grocers Considered ‘Initial Responders’ Following Ridgecrest Earthquakes, Disasters

July 18th, 2019

Abby Browning and Tim James

In this episode of All Hazards, we talk about the important relationship between Cal OES and the private sector. We sit down with two people who have forged a working relationship that exemplifies the symbiotic nature of disaster response and recovery teamwork. Abby Browning is the Chief of the Office of Private Sector/ Non-Governmental Organization Coordination at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services; Tim James is Senior Manager, Local Government Relations, California Grocer's Association.

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) recognizes the need for communication, coordination and cooperation among all emergency management stakeholders in California. This is underscored by our long-standing relationship with the private sector. The impact of the 2007 and 2008 California wildfires emphasized the critical need for the organized synchronous exchange of information and resources between public and private sector organizations in mitigating against, preparing for, responding to, and recovering from disaster events.

Historically, information and resource sharing activities between the public and private sectors have too often taken place in an ad hoc, isolated, and reactive fashion, resulting in less than optimal assistance to individuals, families, communities, and the economy. Realizing the need for stronger public-private collaboration, legislation was enacted (Senate Bill 546) and issued, giving Cal OES greater authority to partner with private industry. The “Authorities” Section of this document provides additional information about the statue and directive. A copy of the legislation may be found in the “Appendices” Section. To further support those efforts, Cal OES signed Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs) with private sector and non-profit organizations creating the Business and Utility Operations Center (BUOC) comprised of the Utility Operations Center (UOC) and Business Operations Center (BOC).

Abby Browning is responsible for developing and maintaining CalOES’s relationships with business, associations, companies, and universities, as well as nonprofit, nongovernmental and philanthropic organizations.  Prior to joining CalOES, Abby was the Special Advisor for International Trade in the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. She was an essential member of the Brown Administration’s international team, working on trade missions to China and Mexico, as well as fostering countless other international business connections for California.  Abby has also worked with the California Chamber of Commerce in the International Affairs and Corporate Relations departments, as well as the California Seismic Safety Commission. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from West Virginia University and she earned an M.A. from the School of Government at California State University, Sacramento.

Links

Cal OES

California Grocers Association

Cal OES Business and Utility Operation Center Information

Share | Download

Dirty Bomb Exercise Ultimate Test for Urban Search and Rescue Teams

May 1st, 2019

RICHARD VENTURA

In this episode (#62) of All Hazards we talk with Orange County Fire Captain Richard Ventura. He’s a member of the California Urban Search & Rescue Task Force 5 and is the director of the Southern Wind RDD US&R Full Scale Exercise. That’s the topic of conversation.  This is a learning based exercise that challenges US&R task forces in an environment that’s the next best thing to a real world event.

The scenario for Southern Wind 2019:

During the weeks of May 1st and 9th 2019, there will be a World Cup Soccer tournament held in Southern California. During the early morning hours of May 1st, a car bomb explodes at Union Station near downtown Los Angeles. Simultaneously another bomb explodes at the Stub Hub Center in Carson and the Exchange Mall (Del Valle) where prominent National Soccer Team is scheduled to make a public appearance; both explosions cause massive injuries and structural damage. At the Exchange Mall there is a partial collapse of the structure and a large fire. The adjacent Memorial Hospital (Del Valle) is seriously damaged. The source of the Exchange Mall explosion is a Radiological Dispersion Device RDD. As a result of the structural collapse at the Exchange Mall and Memorial Hospital, CA-TF6 and CA-TF8 will be activated.  US&R teams will assess the scenes and proceed to rescue survivors and save lives.

Participating Organizations:

California Task Force 2 (CA-TF2)

California Task Force 5 (CA-TF5)

California Task Force 6 (CA-TF6)

California Task Force 8 (CA-TF8)

Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) - HazMat 150

 

Sponsors:

California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

Orange County Fire Authority

FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue Response System

 

 

 

 

 

 

Share | Download

CALFIRE’s Mike Mohler Indicates Paradigm Shift in the Wind for Wildland Fires in California Following Historical Disasters

January 29th, 2019

Mike MohlerIn this episode (# 57) we talk with Mike Mohler, Deputy Director of Communications for CALFIRE. In his current role, as well as his prior position as Battalion Chief at Southern Region, Mike has worked many of California’s biggest wildfire disasters, historical ones at that.  He talks about why there is no longer a “fire season” and how wildfires really are different from those just a few years ago. He discusses the challenges fire agencies have with the numerous factors contributing to year-round fires including fuels, drought, tree mortality, climate change and wildland-urban interface. He also addresses wildland management, the importance of Firewise communities, local government and community engagement, defensible space and thinking completely differently in order to mitigate future deadly mega-fires, and so much more.

As mentioned, Mike Mohler is currently the Deputy Director, Communications, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. Mohler began his fire service career in 1991, as a reserve firefighter in Orange County, assigned to the heavy equipment and crew division. 

While working as a reserve, he attended the Santa Ana College fire science program and worked full time as a firefighter for Boeing’s Aeronautics and Missile Systems Division in Anaheim. Mike began his career with CAL FIRE in the San Bernardino Unit as a Firefighter I in June 2000. 

In May 2001, Mike promoted to Firefighter II in the Riverside Unit and in 2005, he promoted to Fire Apparatus Engineer. In 2010, Chief Mohler promoted to Fire Captain in the San Diego Unit.  In 2015, he promoted to Battalion Chief at Southern Region, where he worked for the next 3 years supervising the Southern Region information and communications programs. Mike was vital in continuing to build the Department’s nontraditional media exposure with projects such as Netflix’s Fire Chasers and Extreme Weather with National Geographic which has showcased our department worldwide.

Chief Mohler participates on several statewide cadres and working groups, including S-420, CIMCI and AAIMS.  He holds several qualifications, including Advanced All Hazard Incident Commander from the University of Texas A&M, and has been assigned to a CAL FIRE Incident Management Team for over 11 years. He currently holds a seat on FEMA’s advisory committee for response to large scale incidents. In addition to his Departmental assignments, Chief Mohler has also served as an Honor Guard member for over 17 years, honoring our fallen and supporting their families. Mike is currently enrolled in American Military University’s Emergency and Disaster Management program.

Links

FIRE SAFE COUNCIL

CALFIRE

Camp Fire on InciWeb

Thomas Fire on CalFire

Woolsey Fire on CalFire

Tubbs Fire on CalFire

 

Share | Download

Podcast Episode 53: Cal OES Team Returns from Hurricane Florence Assistance and Shares Experiences, Part-2

October 9th, 2018

Front Row, L-R: Andy Langolf, Drew Hammond, Carly Landry, Megan Pappas

Back Row, L-R: Anthony Zimmer, Mike Warren, Ron Williams, Mark Ackerman

  

On September 12, 2018, Cal OES deployed emergency and incident management specialists to assist with emergency response efforts for Hurricane Florence. The team arrived in South Carolina prior to the storm’s landfall and immediately began work.

The 8-person team consisted of Megan Pappas, Mike Warren, Ron Williams, Anthony Zimmer, Mark Ackerman, Andy Langolf, Carly Landry and Drew Hammond. During the two-week deployment, California personnel will use their specialized emergency management operations skills to help officials as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Florence. The eight-person Cal OES Incident Support Team has extensive emergency operations experience and has been involved in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters in California including wildfires, flooding, winter storms, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, earthquakes and drought.  Primary duties included the support of Logistics and Points of Distribution (POD) coordination in Columbia, S.C. at the State Emergency Operations Center.

In this episode, which is Part-1 of 2-Parts, each of these team members recount the experiences of their deployment, what worked, what didn’t, their objectives and how they met them despite the pressures from a fast-approaching hurricane, working in a strange place with unfamiliar people and methods and much more.

Links

OESNews.com All Hazards Page

EMAC

State Private Nonprofit Organizations Assistance Program

Emergency Management Assistance Compact

Press Releases

Press Release: California Deploys Emergency Management Team to South Carolina, Virginia to Assist with Hurricane Response, Recovery

Press Release: California Deploys Emergency Management Team to Puerto Rico to Assist with Hurricane Response, Recovery

Press Release: California Deploys Additional Emergency Support to East Coast States Impacted by Hurricane Florence

 

 

 

Share | Download

Podcast Episode 52: Cal OES Team Returns from Hurricane Florence Assistance and Shares Experiences

October 3rd, 2018

 

 

Front Row, L-R: Mike Warren, Ron Williams, Anthony Zimmer

Back Row, L-R: Andy Langolf, Mark Ackerman, Megan Pappas

 

On September 12, 2018, Cal OES deployed emergency and incident management specialists to assist with emergency response efforts for Hurricane Florence. The team arrived in South Carolina prior to the storm’s landfall and immediately began work.

 

The 8-person team consisted of Megan Pappas, Mike Warren, Ron Williams, Anthony Zimmer, Mark Ackerman, Andy Langolf, Carly Landry and Drew Hammond. During the two-week deployment, California personnel will use their specialized emergency management operations skills to help officials as they respond to the impacts of Hurricane Florence. The eight-person Cal OES Incident Support Team has extensive emergency operations experience and has been involved in response and recovery efforts for several major disasters in California including wildfires, flooding, winter storms, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, earthquakes and drought.  Primary duties included the support of Logistics and Points of Distribution (POD) coordination in Columbia, S.C. at the State Emergency Operations Center.

 

In this episode, which is Part-1 of 2-Parts, each of these team members recount the experiences of their deployment, what worked, what didn’t, their objectives and how they met them despite the pressures from a fast-approaching hurricane, working in a strange place with unfamiliar people and methods and much more.

 

OESNews.com All Hazards Page

Palmetto Software

EMAC

State Private Nonprofit Organizations Assistance Program

Emergency Management Assistance Compact

Press Releases

Press Release: California Deploys Emergency Management Team to South Carolina, Virginia to Assist with Hurricane Response, Recovery

Press Release: California Deploys Emergency Management Team to Puerto Rico to Assist with Hurricane Response, Recovery

Press Release: California Deploys Additional Emergency Support to East Coast States Impacted by Hurricane Florence

 

Share | Download

International Mutual Aid to California: New Zealand Shows It’s a “Kiwi Thing to Do”

August 28th, 2018

Chief Craig Cottrill: Wellington/Chatham Islands Fire and Emergency

 

At the height of the wildfire siege across California, when 15 major fires burned, there were more than 13,000 firefighters from 18 states and two other countries battling the blazes. Those countries included Australia and New Zealand. 41 of those firefighters were deployed to the Mendocino Complex in Lake County, and 12 were assigned to the Carr Fire in Shasta County. Their roles varied and their value to the effort could not be understated. They brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and energy and will eventually return having gained a new understanding of firefighting environment, strategy and technology.

In this episode of All Hazards, we sit down with Chief Craig Cottrill, of the Wellington/Chatham Islands Fire and Emergency, New Zealand.  Hear about the challenges of being part of an international mutual aid team, the differences in how wildfires are tackled here versus New Zealand, from the technologies to the assets and strategies, as well as how Chief Cottrill manages his team and explains how Californians are similar to New Zealanders in adopting the “Kiwi thing to do.”

New Zealand's Camp at ICP in Modoc County

 

Links

OESNews.com

All Hazards Podcast

Mutual Aid Comes In From All Over State, Country & World For Largest Fire In California History

 

Thursday, August 9, 2018 Press Release

Governor Brown Issues Executive Order to Streamline Cleanup and Recovery in Communities Impacted by Wildfires

SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today issued an executive order to cut red tape and help streamline recovery efforts in communities impacted by the devastating wildfires that continue to burn in Lake, Siskiyou, Shasta, Mendocino and Napa counties.

There are 15 major fires currently burning in California that have destroyed homes and infrastructure and continue to threaten communities. More than 13,000 firefighters from California, 17 other states, Australia and New Zealand are working the front lines of wildfires statewide.

The executive order includes provisions that:

  • Expedite debris removal and cleanup of homes and businesses that were damaged or destroyed by the fires;
  • Extend the state’s prohibition on price gouging during emergencies; 
  • Suspend planning and zoning requirements and state fees for manufactured homes and mobile home parks to help displaced residents with housing needs; 
  • Allow for the accelerated hiring of additional personnel for emergency and recovery operations; 
  • Provide waivers on temporary school facilities and outdoor physical education requirements to allow schools to open as quickly as possible; 
  • Extend the filing deadline for certain taxes for businesses in the impacted counties; 
  • Streamline contracting and purchasing rules; and 
  • Strengthen coordination between state agencies on environmental restoration in fire-impacted areas. 

Last weekend, Governor Brown announced the federal government’s approval of a presidential major disaster declaration for Shasta County and met with local leaders and fire and emergency management officials at the Carr Fire Incident Command Post in Anderson. The federal government is reviewing the presidential major disaster declaration request for Lake, Mendocino and Napa counties on an expedited basis as preliminary damage assessments continue. The Mendocino Complex fire is now the largest fire in state history and remains a dynamic challenge for firefighters.

Previously, Governor Brown declared a state of emergency in Shasta, Lake, Mendocino, NapaRiverside and Mariposa counties due to multiple fires and secured federal aid to further support communities impacted by the Carr Fire.

Last week, Governor Brown joined the state’s top emergency management officials at the State Operations Center in Mather to provide an update on the ongoing fire fight. The State Operations Center is activated to its highest level to help local, state and federal emergency response officials address emergency management needs.

Information on additional resources for residents impacted by the fires is available at: http://wildfirerecovery.org/

The full text of today’s executive order can be found here.

Share | Download

Sentinel Response 18 FSE and Interagency Cooperation

March 26th, 2018

 

(SGM Gerald Davis, center, looking at camera)

In recent months, California and our nation has been no stranger to devastating natural and man-made emergencies. So, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) joined the California National Guard’s Homeland Response Force (HRF) and 95th Civil Support Team, along with multiple State/Federal Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces, CAL FIRE, FBI, the Department of Energy, and several other elite emergency response agencies for a full-scale terrorism response exercise at Sacramento’s Sleep Train Arena.

“In just the last year we’ve seen our highly trained emergency response and recovery teams deployed across the nation to lead critical lifesaving missions,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “This exercise will test those critical rescue and response skills, as well as enhance our ability to respond to real world events that could happen anywhere in California, our nation or in other parts of the world."

The training scenario involved a series of simultaneous terrorist attacks across Northern California following a 6.5-magnitude earthquake. The attacks include simulated improvised explosive devices (IED), the detonation of a simulated radiation-dispersal device (RDD) and firearms. Sleep Train Arena will serve as the training site for IED and RDD response, while Sonoma Raceway served as the site for active shooter response training. Hundreds of emergency-response personnel, vehicles, and aircraft participated.

“It’s only through regular, realistic training alongside our partner agencies that we keep our skills sharp and response times low,” said Maj. Gen. David S. Baldwin, Adjutant General for the California National Guard. “These exercises establish the relationships and interagency coordination that is fundamental to an effective response during emergency incidents.”

In this episode we pull SGM Gerald Davis, of the California National Guard, to talk about organizing such a large and complex training exercise and why they're so important, and so important to make as real as possible.

Share | Download

Haiti, Japan, Northridge and Loma Prieta Earthquakes and the Evolution of US&R

February 27th, 2018

Deputy Chief Larry Collins is the Cal OES Fire and Rescue Deputy Fire Chief of the Special Operations and Hazardous Material Unit, having joined Cal OES in November, 2016. He oversees the State Urban Search and Rescue (US&R) Response Program which includes response, training, terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destructions related operations, flood and swiftwater rescue operations, and hazardous material unit.

Chief Collins joined Cal OES Fire and Rescue Division after serving 36 years in all ranks at the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD). He served up to the Battalion Chief position, with many years assigned to some of the busiest fire/rescue companies and battalions, and has 30 years of experience as a paramedic. He was assigned to three active LACoFD battalions and he spent 19 years as a Captain at the department’s Central Urban Search and Rescue Unit, responding by ground unit or helicopter to a wide variety of challenging technical rescues, multi-alarm fires, and major emergencies across Los Angeles County and surrounding counties. He was a Search Team Manager and Task Force Leader on LACoFD’s California OES/FEMA USAR Task Force (CA-TF2), deploying to disasters including the 2015 Nepal Earthquake disaster; the 2011 Japan Earthquake/Tsunami catastrophe; the 2010 Haiti Earthquake, and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. Chief Collins has been an active member of the FEMA US&R Incident Support Teams (IST), having served since 1995 as a US&R Specialist, Division/Group Supervisor, Branch Director, and Operations Section Chief to help coordinate federal urban search and rescue operations at Hurricanes Sandy, Katrina, Ivan, Ike, Rita, Frances, Gustav, Irene, Dennis, Wilma, Dolly, Earl, and most recently Mathew. As an IST member, he also responded to the 9/11 Attacks, the Oklahoma City bombing, and various national security events and exercises. 

Chief Collins left LACoFD with a record of innovative leadership and actualizing informed visions for the future of the fire/rescue services. During his employment with LACoFD, Chief Collins demonstrated his ability to initiate, institute, and successfully manage unique improvements and enhancements to public safety. This included many years of invaluable inter-agency and multidisciplinary experiences, collaborations, and innovations that continue to have local, state, national, and international impact. Chief Collins’ diverse list also includes: founding of LACoFD’s Swiftwater Rescue Program and the continued development of LACoFD’s US&R Program, working with Cal OES and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on development of the state and national US&R systems, also working with Cal OES on developing the statewide swiftwater rescue team network, mud and debris flow response protocols and rescue procedures, fireground rapid intervention protocols, active shooter response procedures, aquatic helicopter swiftwater workshop rescue evolutions, terrorism planning and response, new approaches to diverse challenges like trench and excavation collapse rescue, large animal rescue, confined space/deep shaft rescue, and the use of technology to improve search and rescue. His experiences even included new designs for firefighter turnouts/bunker gear to improve the speed by which downed firefighters can be rescued.

Chief Collins frequently served as a bridge between emergency response and the sciences, industry, and government agencies helping to innovate multidisciplinary programs like the California Shakeout Earthquake Exercise; the California Catastrophic Earthquake Plan; the L.A. County Tsunami Plan, and the Post-Station Fire Mud and Debris Flow Response Plans. Chief Collins has been able to communicate and articulate the visions, innovations, and lessons learned to fire/rescue service operators and the public by authoring reports, published articles, and books. Ironically, author Dete Messerve based a main character in her novels “Good Sam” and “Perfectly Good Crime” on Chief Collins and his work.

Chief Collins is also a recipient of the Carnegie Hero Fund Award (1983), and the L.A. County Community Protector Award. He was named as firefighter of the year in several of LACoFD’s contract cities, and he received the Lifetime Achievement and team awards from the Higgins/Langley Memorial Fund for Swiftwater Rescue.

Links

Cal OES Fire & Rescue

Urban Search & Rescue Task Forces

Sky News Report on the Rescue of Jeanette: Woman rescued after six days Haiti survivor

BUCK HELM — Man Who Lived 90 Hours In Quake Rubble Is Dead

Loma Prieta earthquake: Mercury News coverage, the Buck Helm rescue

4 things EMS providers must know about crush syndrome

 

 

Share | Download

Amber Anderson: At Home with the Santa Barbara Mudslide

January 23rd, 2018

We sit down with Amber Anderson, an 18 year veteran firefighter, and 10 year veteran of the Santa Barbara City Fire Department. She’s a member of the Santa Barbara County Type-3 Incident Management Team, a fire inspector and investigator and public information officer. In this episode Amber talks about the fire community always learns from previous disasters; this time it’s the Thomas Fire and the ensuing flood and mudslide which devastated her county and the community of Montecito. She also reflects on how  Santa Barbara stood-up their incident management team just prior to the floods and just how important that decision was given the damage and deaths that resulted from the floods. And how in the world was she able to keep a smile on her face amid the long hours, demands and stress put on her during her activation and deployment to the disaster in her home town? She’ll answer that question and more in this episode. Oh, and never mind the noise. It’s a disaster recovery operation.

Links

City of Santa Barbara Fire Department

Santa Barbara County

Cal OES Newsroom

Cal OES Home Page

Montecito Mudslide US&R Update Video

 

 

 

 

Share | Download

- Older Posts »