Last October, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California National Guard (CNG) jointly deployed personnel with emergency response and management expertise to assist in Florida and neighboring states in response to Hurricane Matthew. During a two-week deployment, Cal OES and CNG personnel used their specialized technical skills to help Floridian emergency management officials at Florida’s State Emergency Operations Center.
Now, after relentless storms battered California this winter, Cal OES reached out to its mutual aid partners requesting assistance from other states through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) – the nation’s mutual-aid system. The Cal OES Recovery Division identified the need for Public Assistance subject matter experts to assist with the aftermath of the 2017 winter storms, with two trained personnel from New Jersey and one from Colorado arriving in Sacramento on June 13. An additional two from Colorado will arrive on Monday.
Both states along with other potential states will be providing support between now and the beginning of September at various Joint Field Offices throughout California.
“The goal is to assist those impacted counties in identifying disaster-related damage and program eligibility,” said Erika Baker, an EMAC coordinator for Cal OES.
Despite a historic drought, atmospheric river storms overwhelmed California throughout January and February and caused major flooding, levee breeches, the evacuation of residents, power outages and extensive damage to roads and bridges. Forty-eight counties were initially included in Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr’s. State of Emergency, with the addition of Contra Costa and Solano counties in a follow-up emergency proclamation increasing the county total to 50 for the February storms.
The emergency proclamation followed three other separate Presidential Major Disaster Declaration requests to support the response efforts for the situation at the Oroville Dam, impacts of the early January storm system and impacts of the late January storm system. In addition, Governor Brown issued emergency declarations connected to storms in December, early January and late January, and the Oroville Dam. Governor Brown also announced a four-point plan to bolster dam safety and flood protection statewide.
EMAC, which includes the participation of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands, is a nationally recognized mutual-aid system that provides the foundation for states impacted by a disaster to request and send resources across state borders.