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

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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.

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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

 

 

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Knowing Before Feeling the Shake, Rattle and Roll of an Earthquake

April 11th, 2017

 

 

This is Episode 27 and today’s is Earthquake Early Warning Deputy Director of Planning, Preparedness and Prevention, Tina Curry talks about Earthquake Early Warning. As the Deputy Director of Planning, Preparedness and Prevention, Tina Curry oversees the Cal OES Earthquake and Tsunami program.

The Cal OES Planning and Preparedness Branch develops and maintains state-level emergency plans and guidance that engage the whole community by using an all-hazards planning process that represents the actual stakeholders from the community, both local and state government leaders, nongovernmental organizations and the private sector.

This branch also includes the Earthquake Early Warning Division and Tina explains in this episode the benefits EEW will bring to the state. She also describes where we are in the process of having a functional system, how much it will cost, and how warnings will be delivered to the public.

Links

Cal OES Planning & Preparedness

Cal OES Earthquake Early Warning Legislation

California Earthquake Early Warning System

Cal OES Earthquake Program

USGS: Latest Earthquakes

Earthquake Early Warning

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tsunami Preparedness - Saving Lives and Protecting Property

March 28th, 2017

Ryan Arba is the branch chief for the Cal OES Earthquake and Tsunami Program.   In this episode, Ryan talks about the program, its federal partner NOAA and the focus of this year’s Tsunami Preparedness Week events. 

The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Earthquake, Tsunami and Volcano Program is continuously researching, learning, and collaborating with science, industry, and academic experts to develop and confirm the latest, best available knowledge base to help make California’s residents and visitors safer in the event of tsunamic activity. By mapping potential inundation and evacuation areas, providing assistance in response and evacuation planning, implementing outreach, education and warning signage at the coast, as well as determining ways to improve preparedness and resilience of California’s ports and harbors, our staff strives to ensure everyone on the coast remains safe before, during and after the next tsunami.

Catastrophic tsunamis are rare, we may have a tendency to get complacent and think that one will never happen while we’re at the beach. However, every coastline in the world is vulnerable to a tsunami. Although a tsunami cannot be prevented, you can diminish adverse impacts through community preparedness, timely warnings and effective response.​​​
 
​California’s 2017 Tsunami Preparedness Week is March 27-31. On March 29, Cal OES, the California Geological Survey (CGS) and the NWS will conduct a conference call with emergency managers from counties along the coast to test several aspects of the tsunami response, including the ability of the National Tsunami Warning Center (NTWC) to send and coast emergency organizations to receive specific tsunami alert messages.
 
During the conference call, representatives from the NTWC, Cal OES and CGS will also test their ability to accurately calculate and verify information contained in draft Tsunami Evacuation Playbooks that will be used by local emergency to determine if an evacuation is necessary and, if show, for how big of an area. The test also allows emergency managers from coastal communities to confirm their ability to receive playbook-related information, test their ability to make decisions regarding evacuation, and as well as to test their abilities to communicate information to port and harbor officials as well as to test their reverse notification and other warning systems reaching people in coastal hazard areas.

Links 

http://www.caloes.ca.gov/ICESite/Pages/National-Tsunami-Preparedness-Week.aspx

http://www.caloes.ca.gov/Cal-OES-Divisions/Earthquake-Tsunami-Volcano-Programs

http://www.tsunamizone.org/

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From WWII to the Northridge Earthquake: Retired LA Battalion Chief Remembers Moments of His Storied Career

September 20th, 2016


Retired Los Angeles City Fire Battalion Chief Larry Schneider's long and storied career began during World War II. He didn't retire until 2007, just shy of his 80th birthday; he says he could have performed his job well for another five years but felt it was time for him to settle down.

We met Mr. Schneider at his home in the hills of LA and spent a wonderful afternoon talking with him about everything from the early days of his career to the Northridge Earthquake.  Take some time to listen to his stories and then check out the links below for some really great photos from his past.


Click here for the story of how Larry Schneider's life was saved, and the great photos of the scene and his hero afterward.



Click here for historical photos of Schneider and his station.


Photo: Photos:Los Angeles Fire Department Historical Archive


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Managing Disasters In California’s Coastal Region

September 6th, 2016

JodiTraversaro.jpg

In this episode Cal OES Coastal Region Administrator talks about the merging of data science and technology and how emergency managers and responders get surprisingly effective help from free phone apps. She also talks about how the state was able to reduce the financial impacts of the Napa quake and keep the important wine industry flowing. Plus, she candidly discusses her way of handling emotionally draining disasters such as the San Diego Fire Siege of 2007 and the San Mateo Floods in 2015, and how she's able to face angry citizens when they accuse government of not doing enough for them in times of crisis. 


Jodi Traversaro has worked for the State for more than 20 years. Traversaro came to Cal OES from the California Department of Human Resources, where she oversaw training and performance management. She worked for Cal OES from 2005 to 2008 where she served as the Director of the California Specialized Training Institute, led the Public Information Office during the response and recovery for the 2007 Southern California Wildfires, Chief of the Legislative Affairs Office and served as an Executive Duty Officer.


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Saving Fire Stations, Lives and Guitars After the Northridge Earthquake: Fire Chief Jim Hone

August 9th, 2016

Hone_Podcast_04-06-2015_10_18_00_05_33_1
In this episode retired Santa Monica fire chief Jim Hone reflects on the Northridge Earthquake and the challenges that kept hitting them, one after another. Whether it was the need to evacuate a major hospital, an incident command that had no power, major delays in mutual aid, or his own fire station that was on the verge of burning down, Hone and others kept their eye on the ball in order to stay in front of it. 

Hone joined the Santa Monica Fire Department in January of 1980, and served as chief beginning in 2003 until he retired in 2010.

Prior to serving as fire chief, Hone worked as a firefighter and paramedic, fire captain, chief of the Support Services Division and fire marshal. During his career he responded to six federal disasters to help locals and coordinate FEMA USAR resources including the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building in Oklahoma City and the World Trade Center attacks in New York City on September 11th, 2001.

Notable projects he worked on include the replacement Fire Station 2, and the development of the Urban Search and Rescue and Hazardous Materials Response Teams. Hone served six years in the U.S. Air Force as a fire protection crash rescue specialist before joining the SMFD.
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