Tuesday Sep 23 2008
Folsom places high priority on emergency preparedness
By: Kerry Miller, Folsom City Manager
The devastating impact of recent Texas hurricanes reinforces the importance of advance preparation for disasters and emergencies that could strike our community. While a hurricane is highly unlikely, serious fires and floods are in the realm of possibility. Emergency preparedness is a high priority for Folsom’s City Council, management team and staff. Together we have taken many proactive steps to protect our community. Folsom has a comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan that provides guidance for every foreseeable type of emergency that could befall our community. We also have a dedicated Emergency Operations Center, one of only two in the Sacramento region, to help coordinate resources and serve as a focal operations point during an emergency. Staff participates in emergency exercises to ensure our readiness to respond. And, we work closely with our neighboring jurisdictions to coordinate efforts. Police Chief Sam Spiegel and Fire Chief Dan Haverty are highly qualified to lead our response to any potential disaster. They are both well known and respected for their expertise in this area. Chief Spiegel is chairman of the Sacramento County Operational Area Emergency Management Council. Chief Haverty served as Chief Assistant Deputy Director for the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security Training and Exercise Division and as an Urban Search & Rescue Specialist for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. We recognize that citizens play a very key role in preparing for a disaster and believe they have a responsibility to take basic precautions to ensure the safety of loved ones. We recently hosted our community’s third annual Emergency Preparedness Fair. Our intent was to help residents create a family plan and prepare a survival kit to get through the first three days of a disaster when public safety staff might be focused on those in more dire straits. For those seeking more advanced emergency training, the city offers Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training classes. During the eight-week program participants learn to assist others in an emergency by acquiring skills in basic fire suppression, light search and rescue and first aid. This fall the CERT program expands to include local teenage students who may receive school credit for participation. Call 916-492-6118 to learn more about adult or teen CERT training opportunities. We all know that disasters may strike with little warning. The possibility of forced evacuations from our homes, schools or places of employment is real. We might also face the loss of basic services such as water, gas, electricity or telephones. While our outstanding public safety staff will be on the scene of any disaster, we have to understand that they may not be able to reach every citizen immediately. We must accept responsibility for basic emergency preparedness before disaster strikes. There are many resources available to assist those seeking guidance on preparing emergency kits and developing family action plans. I recommend starting with www.ready.gov or the police and fire department pages on the city’s website, www.folsom.ca.us. Your city government is working hard to be ready for any type of emergency. Are you prepared to do your part? Kerry Miller is the Folsom City Manager. He may be reached at 916-355-7220.