Council hears updated emergency plan | October 31, 2008 | Danville Express | |

Danville Express

Newsfront - October 31, 2008

Council hears updated emergency plan

More people need to be trained to help first responders

by Geoff Gillette

Efforts to develop an overall emergency plan for the town of Danville continue to move forward. At their Oct. 21 meeting, members of the Town Council were updated on how the plan is progressing and where it may be going.

Town Emergency Services Manager Greg Gilbert presented the plan to council members and explained how they are moving forward.

"As part of our ongoing evaluation of the Town's emergency services and readiness, the Emergency Operations Plan (EOP) was reviewed and updated to reflect changes that occur on a local state and national level," he told them.

Gilbert said every city in California is required to have an emergency plan that meets the federal and state guidelines and is integrated with the county's emergency plan.

Some of the changes that have been made to the plan include the addition of the Short Ridge Area on the northern edge of Sycamore Valley as a High Fire Area; added the position of Emergency Services Manager to the EOP; and a resolution to designate and appoint standby officers for the members of the Town Council in the event of an emergency.

Gilbert said that national disasters such as those caused by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita or the terrorist attacks of 9/11 have caused the government to step up its efforts to have local and state governments prepared for disasters.

There is also a need for additional help for first responders. Gilbert said the town has seen a spike in attendance for the CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) and PEP (Personal Emergency Preparedness) training and he thinks that will be a help in the event of an emergency.

"Over 500 people in the valley have gone through CERT training," he said. "Having people who are prepared in a disaster is a huge benefit to police, fire and other first responders."

The emergency plan has been updated to include the CERT and PEP training profiles and the number of people who have been through the training. Gilbert said they would like to see even more people get the training.

One of the main changes to the plan is that it takes a broader scope. Where early iterations of the plan dealt specifically with earthquakes, newer versions deal with fires, floods and manmade disasters.

"We're taking an all-hazards approach," said Gilbert. "Our plan needs to be flexible enough to respond to all of these incidents, not just one or two.