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.



California Grocers Association

Cal OES Business and Utility Operation Center Information

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CERT Members from Around US Gather in San Diego for Notable Preparedness Milestone

June 14th, 2019



California Volunteers, together with the Office of the Governor, announced on May 30, 2019, they kicked off the California For All CERT and Listos Preparedness Conference during an opening ceremony in San Diego, CA on Thursday, May 30, according to their own description. CalVolunteers officially launched the volunteer teams – CERT (Community Emergency Response Teams) and Listos – who will help engage diverse and socially vulnerable Californians most at risk for wildfires and other natural disasters as part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s California For All Emergency Preparedness Campaign.


“We are ushering in a new era of disaster preparedness in California,” said Suu-Va Tai, California Volunteers’ Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness. “Governor Newsom is leveraging the power of tens of thousands of trained volunteers and service members to increase community resiliency throughout California.”


This conference marked the first milestone of the California For All Emergency Preparedness Campaign. Grants were awarded to assist California-based CERT and Listos members to attend the multi-day conference occurring May 31-June1, to help launch their involvement as part of the California For All Emergency Preparedness campaign with workshops, trainings and discussion on preparedness and disaster recovery. A press release from April 15, 2019 announced all grants associated with the campaign.  More than 700 participants from the US, Mexico and Chile attended the first national CERT Conference held in San Diego.


In this episode we talk with:




California Volunteers


California For All


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Australian Delegation of Top Emergency Managers Visit Cal OES to Share Best Practices and More

May 22nd, 2019

Group photo of Australian Delegation at Cal OES HQ

In this episode of All Hazards we chat with three members of a delegation from a high level of Australia’s emergency management leadership.


They are visiting Cal OES for strategic discussions on how both California and Australian representatives coordinate and respond to disasters including sharing best practices, gaps, and lessons learned, as well as how they work with other first responders and local, state, and government officials.


Australian Government, Department of Home Affairs

New South Wales, Office of Emergency Management

OES News 


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Dirty Bomb Exercise Ultimate Test for Urban Search and Rescue Teams

May 1st, 2019


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



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.







Clips de Noticias, Creditós:


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On-Scene with Woolsey and Hill Fires Incident Commander Kendra Bowyer; Debris Removal Progress

March 5th, 2019

Kendra Bowyer is the Incident Commander for the Woolsey and Hill Fire debris removal operations in Southern California. She has served in many other capacities in nearly a dozen previous debris Removal operations for the state of California since 2015.

Kendra Bower was hired as an Emergency Services Coordinator with CalOES in early 2018 following six years of emergency management in the private sector. She specializes in recovery and wildfire debris removal. Kendra loves the work she does because she feels that this is a way to truly give back to society, by helping those in need at a most crucial time in their lives. As a young adult, Kendra lost her childhood home in a tornado so, needless to say,  her passion and love for this work is directly influenced by her personal experience.


Nearly 120 Properties Cleared of Woolsey, Hill Fire Debris

For more information in Los Angeles County, visit lacounty.gov/LACountyRecovers or call 1-626-979-5370.  For more information in Ventura County, visit www.venturacountyrecovers.org or call 1-805-504-7869.


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Podcast #58: First Chat with New Cal OES Fire Chief Brian Marshall

February 19th, 2019

Photo of Fire Chief Brian Marshall

February 4, California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Director Mark Ghilarducci officially swore in Brian Marshall as the new Fire and Rescue Chief. He was appointed to his new position in December.

Chief Marshall spent the previous six years as the fire chief and director of emergency services at the Kern County Fire Department. He served in several positions with the Kern County Fire Department since 1987, including interim fire chief and director of emergency services, deputy fire chief, fire battalion chief, fire captain, fire engineer and firefighter. He is also a member of FIRESCOPE and oversaw numerous disasters throughout central California, including the Erskine Fire in 2016.

Chief Marshall will be replacing Kim Zagaris, who announced his retirement in 2018. Zagaris was appointed as the Fire and Rescue Chief on April 1, 2001.

Prior to his appointment, Chief Zagaris was the Assistant Fire Chief for Cal OES with assignments in Region I, II, III, IV and V since 1987. He started his career as a Comprehensive Employment and Training Act (CETA) seasonal firefighter in 1977 and promoted through the ranks of the local, state and federal fire agencies to the State Fire and Rescue Chief. His extensive background in fire service, emergency management, and homeland security included working with local, state, federal and international agencies over the last 40 years.

Upon learning of his appointment, Kern County Fire Chief Brian Marshall said "I’m going to miss Kern County, working with the citizens and working for the citizens of Kern County.”

He will focus on preventing statewide emergencies in his new position. He has worked in the department since 1987, nearly 32 years. “It’s not been 32 years, it’s been a lifetime," he said. “I want to go to Sacramento and protect the state," he said. "I am just so excited about the opportunities that exist in Sacramento right now for me and my family. It’s exciting and scary at the same time.”


Marshall Sworn in as New Cal OES Fire Chief

VIDEO: Cal OES Director Gets First-Hand Look at Erskine Fire in Kern County

RAW VIDEO: Erskine Fire Burns Through Communities Near Lake Isabella

Erskine Fire Podcasts

The Erskine Fire: Beyond the Lines

Sobering Aerial View of Erskine Wildfire Destruction in Kern County

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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.




Camp Fire on InciWeb

Thomas Fire on CalFire

Woolsey Fire on CalFire

Tubbs Fire on CalFire


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Episode 56: Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea Talks Candidly About the Camp Fire

November 28th, 2018

Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea

Sheriff Kory L. Honea

In this episode (#56) we sit down with the sheriff of Butte County, California, Kory Honea. His county, of course, was ravaged by the Camp Fire which broke out on November 8, 2018. The Town of Paradise, located within his county, was nearly completely destroyed by the fire that was stoked by 55+mile per hour gusts. Sheriff Honea is facing a death toll that could exceed 100, managing his law enforcement team as well as mutual aid and keeping his citizens safe while they're displaced from homes that were either destroyed or just can't be reached due to the town's closure.  Honea also had the responsibility of evacuating tens of thousands of people to get them out of harms way.  He talks about all that, plus some of the more challenging stresses he's faced and how he's dealing with all of the responsibility that goes along with California's deadliest wildfire disaster.

Kory L. Honea became the 31st Sheriff of Butte County in May, 2014. 
Prior to becoming the Sheriff, Honea served as the Undersheriff for nearly four years. 
Sheriff Honea began his career with the Butte County Sheriff's Office in 1993,  when he was hired as a deputy sheriff.   Prior to that Sheriff Honea was employed  by the Shasta County Sheriff's Office.

During his law enforcement career Sheriff Honea has held assignments in
corrections, patrol and investigations.  In 2000, Sheriff Honea transferred
to the District Attorney's Office as an investigator.  While at the District
Attorney's Office, Sheriff Honea promoted through the ranks to become the Chief Investigator in 2008.  Sheriff Honea held that position until his return to the Sheriff's Office as Undersheriff in 2010.

Sheriff Hone-a holds a Juris Doctorate from the Taft School of Law and is a member of the State Bar of California. 
He also holds an Associate of Arts degree from Butte College. 



Butte County Sheriff

Butte County Recovers

Camp Fire Rescued Animals




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