Welcome to the home of the Cal OES All Hazards podcast. Here you will find current and past episodes of our podcast along with show notes, related links and more.
In each All Hazards episode, you will hear from local, state and federal emergency managers and first responders who have fascinating stories to tell, along with important lessons they have learned during significant events throughout their careers. So, their interviews are not only entertaining, they’re also informative and potentially career-impacting.
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If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please let us know.
In 2009, he created The Podcasters’ Studio to share what he had learned while producing his first podcast and to teach himself audio-only podcast production. Podcasting quickly became a full-time hobby and eventually his job – more accurately, his dream job.
In this episode of All Hazards we’re going to talk about podcasting in general, podcasting in the government sector and how it might fit in with your office’s public outreach messaging. We’ll offer some tips to get you started if you think your audience might want to listen to what you have to say, how you might improve your existing podcast, and what some of the trends are in podcasting.
What does a typical day on the job look like for Cal OES public information officer? Well, the answer to that is – there is no typical day. One thing you can count on is that it’s likely there won’t be a press release in draft mode; only for special occasions are press releases written. More often than not, our PIOs are busy creating more engaging forms of communication, from short and longer form videos, to daily blogs to podcasts and social media. Our PIOs also get their hands dirty to get the public and stakeholders the information they need in a more interesting way. They travel by 4-wheel drive, Snow Cat, helicopter and any other mode of transportation to take you to the story and the story makers, and give you the best access for the best perspective. It’s all about transparency and proof of performance and readiness for the tax dollars invested.
So, in this episode, three of our PIOs sit down to talk about what it’s like to be a few of the faces and voices for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. Monica Vargas, Robb Mayberry and Jon Gudel have all been involved in a wide range of missions and assignments for Cal OES and are here to share their stories, lessons and tips, all valuable information whether you’re a PIO or not.
In this, the 23rd, episode we sit down with Luis “Vance” Taylor, who is the Chief of the Office of Access and Functional Needs at the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He is a person who has not let his limited mobility slow him down in his personal or professional worlds. You will find out how his determination, experience and mom’s words of wisdom has helped him excel in the world of emergency management.
As chief of the OAFN 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 and then integrated within the state’s emergency management systems.
Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, Vance was diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy as a child and uses a power chair. He has worked in Washington, D.C. as an advisor for two different members of Congress, directed security policy at a national association and been a principal at a top-ranked homeland security and emergency management consulting firm, Catalyst Partners, LLC. Vance is a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for individuals with disabilities.
Vance has a Master’s degree in homeland security from the University of Connecticut and an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University in communications. He is married to his sweetheart, Casey, and they have two beautiful daughters, Isabelle and Sammy. Vance and his family live in Rancho Cordova, CA.
This episode (#18) Cal OES Deputy Chief Paul Tassone sits down at the mic with us. Chief Tassone is going on his 34th year in law enforcement, and his 6th with Cal OES. His career began with a tour of duty in Air Force when he got out of high school. While in he received medical training and when he got out he began working as an EMT2 while going back to school. It was during that time he became interested in law enforcement. He attended the Sacramento Sheriff’s Academy in 1982 and spent the next couple of decades working his way up through the ranks, working closely with emergency management, until landing at Cal OES in 2011. He’s now deputy chief, administration. A self-proclaimed adrenalin junky, he loves working with emergency services and the people in that community.
Chief Tassone talks about how much he relies on technology and is especially impressed by modern mapping systems and their use during search and rescue missions – satellite trackers and real-time feeds from air to ground to help direct crews with pinpoint accuracy even at night. To see an example of that technology, click this link to watch a story that also includes night vision goggles and helicopter demonstrations (the monitoring is at the end of the video.)
This episode brings us to the topic of homeland security in California. The State Threat Assessment System (STAS) describes its mission as Protecting society through shared information and communication. It fosters a collaborative effort to enhance the reporting, tracking, analysis, and assessment of criminal threat information and suspicious activity, produces and shares timely and actionable homeland security information, and enhances the safety of the citizens of California, while rigorously protecting their privacy, civil rights, and civil liberties.
We sit down with Maria Gomez, who is a strategic analyst team manager with the STAC, the State Threat Assessment Center, which is part of the STAS.
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)
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.