If you ever become complacent with your work environment, or a little miffed that some of the changes you’d hoped to see haven’t happened yet, then this story is for you. If you’ve ever traveled to other government buildings, state or otherwise, then you know how bad those facilities can be (one particular office in Auburn stands out in my mind!) One more “if”: if you happened to have worked in the old Cal OES headquarters, like Deputy Director Grace Koch, then you know how wonderful this modern, open and sunlit building is.
Cal OES headquarters has come a long, long way. Just watch this short video and see for yourself, and keep this one in mind while you watch. And consider embracing Grace’s philosophy about her time spent in the old HQ. Enjoy the trip … continue reading »
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.
FEMA is now imbedded at Cal OES headquarters as the two, along with their other state, federal, local and non-governmental partners coordinate response and recovery activity to multiple weather-related incidents. Get an idea of what they’re facing now, and in the coming weeks by watching this short video. Public Information Officer Shawn Boyd reports in the Cal OES News In-Depth story.
February 7, 2009 is such a dark date in the minds of Australians they call it Black Saturday. A series of 400 individual brush fires raged across the state of Victoria. Extreme record-breaking temperatures, drought conditions set the stage, followed by winds topping 78 miles per hour fueled the fires. The wildfires destroyed everything in their path, killing 173 people and injuring 414; they seemed unstoppable. It was hell on earth.
Take a long, hard look at the photos in this story. These were posted on social media by two people on the scene of flash flooding that devastated the El Capitan State Beach campground in Santa Barbara County on January 20th. Santa Barbara Fire officials say nearly two dozen people had to be rescued, and luckily no one was killed. KTLA reported that rescues began before 10:30 a.m., when mud, tree branches and debris clogged a creek at El Capitan State Beach and caused runoff to overflow the park’s campground, according to Santa Barbara County fire spokesman Mike Eliason. The flooding inundated tents, yurts and campground buildings and caused a number of cabins and parked cars to float away and eventually become pinned in a pile of debris, according to Eliason.
Despite a very wet October and November, California continues to remain in severe drought conditions over much of the state. Therefore, we all need to keep our focus set on conservation. And let’s not forget that wildfire season is really year-round now. As of this posting there are two active fires burning (more info).
So, today we look back at the Cedar Fire, a wildfire that broke out in San Diego County in October of 2003 and burned into November, with full containment coming on November 4th.
By the time it was all said and done, the blaze burned more than 280,000 acres, destroyed 2, 820 buildings which includes 2,232 homes, and killed 15 people. According to CalFIRE the … continue reading »
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.
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.)
Each autumn the California Fire Foundation honors fallen firefighters and their families with the California Firefighters Memorial Ceremony at Capitol Park. It also performs the solemn task of adding new names to the Memorial Wall. As someone who did not know any firefighters prior to coming to Cal OES in 2014, I hadn’t attended a memorial ceremony. So when I worked that year’s ceremony, streaming it online, I was impressed and moved.
As in years past, this year’s ceremony featured a uniformed firefighter procession, honor guard, personal tributes and the presentation of a U.S. flag to the families of those whose names added to the memorial. The sound of distant Pipes and Drums signaled the beginning of the event, and with … continue reading »
Most people only get to witness aircraft dump hundreds of gallons of water over a wildfire on TV news, but this past Saturday all that changed for attendees of the 11th annual California Day of Preparation. Cal OES enlisted Sacramento Metro Fire Air Operations to put on an aerial water demonstration over the Sacramento River adjacent to the event in Old Sacramento. At precisely 12:30, the rumbling “whoop, whoop, whoop” sound of the red and white helicopter could be heard growing louder as it approached the drop zone. Within moments, the UH-1H Huey swooped down, hovered 20 feet over the surface while its nozzle dipped into the water and suctioned 375 gallons of river water into its onboard tank. Thirty seconds later, it took off, leaving a trail of water and wake behind it. Then, … continue reading »