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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Podcast Episode 61: Be You Nehru

April 23rd, 2019

 

In this episode we talk with our new Cal OES Deputy Coastal Region Administrator Nehru Harper. Nehru has always led a life of service--from being a Brownie, to becoming one the first of many women to serve onboard a Pentagon sanctioned vessel in the United States Navy, to advocating for disabled veterans, and working for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (both in Boston and Oakland). Service has always been her calling. She moved to California in 2011 and fell in love with the State.

 

This lead to employment with the US Census Bureau, Defense Contracting and Management Agency, Veterans Benefits Administration and back to the Federal Emergency Management Agency out of Oakland in 2017 as part of FEMA’s Individual Assistance team. Nehru became all too familiar with the disasters that can and could plague FEMA IX. She began working very closely with Cal OES during the 2017 California fires as the FEMA Human Services Group Supervisor, worked in American Samoa for a housing mission in Saipan, and also worked in Hawaii to assist with the impacts of the volcanic eruptions, flooding, and earthquakes.

 

She is active in a variety of civic and cultural organizations including Habitat for Humanity, Women in the Arts, the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Grammys. Outside of professional interests, Nehru travels widely, reads, and writes poetry, auditions for voice-overs, dee-jays, and helps addicts and alcoholics find recovery. She shares a home in the Sacramento with her partner, Maya.

Mentions and Links

While in the US Navy, she was one of the first women assigned to her ship, AS-39 USS Emory S. Land

Her supervisor is Jodi Traversaro (podcast episode Facing Disasters In California’s Coastal Region)

Coastal Region 

FEMA Region IX 

U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs 

If you are a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one, connect with their caring, qualified responders for confidential help. Many of them are Veterans themselves.

Call 800-273-8255 and press 1

Text 838255

Start a confidential chat

Call TTY if you have hearing loss 800-799-4889

Get more resources at VeteransCrisisLine.net

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Podcast #60: ¿Está Listo? Consejos y Pasos Para Estar Más Preparados Ante Una Emergencia o Desastre

April 2nd, 2019

Podcast #60: En este podcast, vamos a hablar sobre la importancia de estar listos para un desastre o emergencia. Viviendo en California, no somos extraños a las emergencias. Hablamos con Jovanna Garcia de la Agencia Federal para el Manejo de Emergencias (FEMA) y ella comparte consejos de sus experencias profesionales y personales. Estar preparado es importante y a veces empezar puede ser la parte más dificil. Pero, no es tan dificil como parece. En este podcast, compartiremos consejos para ayudarle a comenzar.

 

Recursos:

www.listo.gov

www.caloes.ca.gov

www.oesnews.com

 

Clips de Noticias, Creditós:

Univisión

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Podcast Episode 54: From the Water in Flint to the Water in Puerto Rico with FEMA’s David Samaniego

October 23rd, 2018

 

FEMA Region IX David Samaniego

 In this episode of All Hazards we sit down with the current Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) for the California Wildfires Disaster Response David Samaniego. Large portions of the counties of Shasta and Lake in the north Bay Area of California were devastated by wildfires in late July, 2018. It was declared a major federal disaster on August 4, 2018, which brought the state and federal together to manage the response and recovery operations. Samaniego came onboard as the FCO in September. Samaniego has a wealth of major disaster experience; he talks about leadership challenges in the Flint, Michigan, water contamination crisis as well as the response effort in Puerto Rico following the destruction of Hurricane Maria in which an estimated 3000 people died (that number was released after an independent study by the George Washington University (GWU) in July 2018, which was commissioned by the governor of Puerto Rico.)

Links

FEMA California Wildfires And High Winds (DR-4382)

FEMA Region IX: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, & the Pacific Islands

FEMA Puerto Rico

FEMA Michigan Contaminated Water (EM-3375)

Disaster Management Roles and Responsibilities

 

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Large Scale Disaster Management with Bob Fenton (encore presentation)

July 18th, 2017

Imagine this situation — the first time you visit New York City it just happens to be on 9/11. The second time you visit is during Hurricane Sandy, and the third time, would you even go back? The man we’re going to talk to today experienced that string of disasters and suddenly found himself leading the initial emergency response to those historical events. He’s a UC Davis alum and 5th generation San Franciscan.

Robert J. Fenton, Jr. was appointed Regional Administrator for FEMA Region IX in July 2015. Since joining FEMA in 1996, Mr. Fenton has played a significant role in numerous large-scale response and recovery operations in the U.S. and has responded to more than 50 Federal disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the four Florida Hurricanes of 2004, the Southern California Wildfires of 2003 and 2007, the Super Typhoon Pongsona in Guam, and the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.

Links

FEMA's Mobile App

Urban Search and Rescue 

FEMA Region IX: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, & the Pacific Islands

 

 

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FEMA’s Kelly Hudson: Facilitating Unity Between the States and the Feds

December 6th, 2016

Kelly Hudson at the Pu'u O'o lava flow

Kelly Hudson is an external affairs officers with FEMA, and is based in Region IX, Oakland, California. She’s worked for FEMA for 12 years, with ten of those in Region IX.

In this episode (#21) she reflects on the many major disasters she’s worked and talks about the challenges of each and lessons learned. She was still a newbie when Hurricane Katrina hit and was dispatched to help with communications as on-scene public information officer. She and her team were escorted by armed guards due to the dangerous nature of angry and desperate locals. She also candidly discusses how, in her eagerness, she got ahead of the messaging curve and told the media too much too soon; that’s a lesson she urges anyone who deals with the media to remember. Kelly also shares her own ways of surviving the chaos of hectic disaster responses, and how it’s important to take care of “Number-1.”

 

 

 

Kelly’s list of major disaster responses are impressive:

External Affairs Officer, Wildfires, Northern California (2015)

External Affairs Officer, Pu'u 'O'O Lava Flow, Hawaii (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Tropical Storm Iselle, Hawaii (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Tropical Storm Halong, Guam (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Severe Storms, American Samoa (2014)

External Affairs Officer, Hurricane Irene (2011)

Deputy External Affairs Officer, Joplin, Mo. tornado (2011)

External Affairs Liaison, Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill (2010)

External Affairs Lead, Tsunami and flooding, American Samoa (2009)

Assistant External Affairs Officer, North Dakota floods (2009)

Deputy External Affairs Officer, Hurricane Ike (2008)

External Affairs Officer, Southern California wildfires (2008)

Executive Officer, Southern California wildfires (2007)

News Desk Lead/Public Information Officer, Hurricane Katrina (2005)

Researcher and Writer/Public Information Officer, New Jersey floods (2005)

Researcher and Writer, Hurricane Ivan (2004)

 

Links

FEMA Region IX

FEMA Region IX Leadership

Pu'u O'o Lava Flow

Pahoa

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Radiation Ready and Zealous with Zika in SLO

November 22nd, 2016

Episode 20 was recorded on the road in San Luis Obispo during the 2016 Ingestion Pathway Exercises, a multi-day testing of state and local counties by FEMA for nuclear incidents at Diablo Canyon. We talk with Dr. Penny Borenstein, the Health Officer for the County of San Luis Obispo.  She talks about how her health department and others might get involved in nuclear incidents immediately following a radiation breach. She also talks about other hot topics in SLO such as antibiotic resistance, secondary hospital-based infections, Zika virus, Valley Fever, drought, and West Nile virus.

In her position, Dr. Borenstein has been a staunch advocate for advancing the public’s health through disease control programs, health education, access to health care, and policy development. One of her first initiatives was a departmental reorganization which resulted in formation of two new divisions – Health Promotion and Health Care Services. The Health Promotion Division created a unified focus on population-based prevention. Staffed primarily at the outset with a small number of health educators and nutritionists working in Tobacco Control, WIC and Childhood Obesity Prevention, the unit now also has programs in Oral Health and Injury Prevention. The division also works extensively on community health improvement through a range of policy initiatives aimed at food systems, climate change, the built environment, and air quality.

Prior to moving to California in 2008, she held several public health leadership positions in the Mid-Atlantic region, and was the founder and Executive Director of Baltimore HealthCare Access, Inc., a non- profit agency devoted to assuring access to health care services for low income persons and special populations. A native New Yorker, Dr. Borenstein received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University and her medical degree from the State University of New York Health Science Center in Syracuse. She received her pediatrics training at the University of Connecticut in Hartford and a Master’s Degree in public health from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

 

Links

http://www.slocounty.ca.gov/health/publichealth.htm

https://www.pge.com/en_US/safety/how-the-system-works/diablo-canyon-power-plant/diablo-canyon-power-plant.page

https://www.cdc.gov/zika/

http://www.cdc.gov/getsmart/community/about/antibiotic-resistance-faqs.html

 

 

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Preparing for Diablo: The Devil’s in the Details

November 8th, 2016

SLO_LakeCachumaLL_0382.jpg

For Episode #19, we traveled to San Luis Obispo County, the home to Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, where Cal OES as well as many other local, state, and federal agencies were participating in a radiological training exercise.  These types of exercises are held every two years and evaluated by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The exercises assist in the development of emergency response plans to ensure that the health and safety of the public is protected in the event of a radiological incident. 

Today’s podcast features Ron Alsop, the Emergency Services Manager for San Luis Obispo County Office of Emergency Services (OES). He has been with the county’s OES for 26 years and was previously with Cal Fire for three years. He talks about the importance of having full scales exercises and the unique challenges faced by this region.

Ron also discusses how educating the community about the nuclear power plant and how the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) system can assist in the event o fan emergency. He also shares an example how controlling rumors is critical during an incident, especially in this day of social media. He concludes with advice to those responsible for delivering information to the public and how transparency can help build trust.

In addition to ongoing preparedness work that includes nuclear power plant emergency readiness, Ron’s experience includes responding to incidents such as large fires throughout the state, the 6.5 San Simeon earthquake in 2003 in San Luis Obispo County, winter storms, commercial aircraft incidents, including the 2000 Alaska Airlines incident off of Ventura County,hazardous material incidents and he provided Emergency Manager’s Mutual Aid(EMMA) assistance to Cal OES in after the 1994 Northridge earthquake.

Ron served on the California statewide committee that developed the initial EMMA plan and on a statewide task force related to initial Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS) implementation. Ron is a past chair of the California Operational Area Coalition, which is a coalition of California’s 58 county emergency managers and a former member of the California Association of Public Information Officials.

DiabloCanyonNukePlant.jpg

Links to additional information or resources:

Cal OES

San Luis Obispo County

San LuisObispo County Office of Emergency Services

DiabloCanyon Nuclear Power Plant

Wireless EmergencyAlerts or WEA

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Bringing Order to Chaos for 9/11, Katrina and Sandy

October 4th, 2016

IMG_0679.jpg
Imagine this situation — the first time you visit New York City it just happens to be on 9/11. The second time you visit is during Hurricane Sandy, and the third time, would you even go back?  The man we’re going to talk to today experienced that string of disasters and suddenly found himself leading the initial emergency response to those historical events. He’s a UC Davis alum and 5th generation San Franciscan.
Robert J. Fenton, Jr. was appointed Regional Administrator for FEMA Region IX in July 2015.  Since joining FEMA in 1996, Mr. Fenton has played a significant role in numerous large-scale response and recovery operations in the U.S. and has responded to more than 50 Federal disasters, including Hurricane Katrina, the four Florida Hurricanes of 2004, the Southern California Wildfires of 2003 and 2007, the Super Typhoon Pongsona in Guam, and the 9/11 World Trade Center terrorist attacks.
IMG_0678.jpg

Links

FEMA's Mobile App

https://www.fema.gov/mobile-app

Urban Search and Rescue

https://www.fema.gov/urban-search-rescue

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