Careful planning is the best way to prepare your city for a
disaster, whether it’s natural or manmade. Your toolbox should
include a crisis communications plan, protocols for declaring a
state of emergency, procedures for securing vital public records
and techniques for educating the public about what to expect and
how to be ready when a disaster strikes.
Looking back at 2005, government officials in California will no
doubt reflect on the number of natural and manmade disasters
nationwide that required some form of emergency response. In the
Gulf Coast states, hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma caused
extensive damage and challenged the resources of emergency
responders. In California, government agencies coped with
torrential rainstorms, floods, brush fires and fierce
windstorms. In addition, Southern California emergency
responders were confronted with the Metrolink train derailment
that cost 11 people their lives.
Last year, as the nation witnessed the massive devastation along
the Gulf Coast, cities everywhere were reminded of the
importance of emergency planning. In a state that’s highly
vulnerable to natural and manmade disasters, California cities
should be particularly focused on emergency preparedness.
Contact: Brad Lindahl, capital projects
program manager, City of Redondo Beach; phone: (310)
372-1171, ext. 2286; e-mail: Brad.Lindahl@redondo.org.
Artesia Boulevard carries between 35,000 and 45,000 vehicles
daily through the cities of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach,
Manhattan Beach and Lawndale. The street is lined with
residential units, commercial areas and a regional shopping mall,
the South Bay Galleria. Maintenance on the street had declined
over the years; the road was deteriorating and aging trees had
damaged the median curb and gutters.
With the development of several large housing projects, the City
of Lincoln is poised for rapid growth over the next 10 years. In
1997, the city’s population was approximately 7,900 residents,
with projections of 50,000 residents by 2010 and build-out
expected to be 60,000 residents. However, the city had concerns
about the existing wastewater treatment facility’s environmental
impacts and its ability to handle the demands of a growing
Contact: Richard Pearson, community development director and
transportation projects manager, City of Martinez; phone: (925)
372-3525; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Located on the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area, the City
of Martinez has a quaint and charming downtown with a Main Street
and old brick buildings. However, in the 1990s, the downtown
area’s economic health was in danger. Both “anchor tenants”
(Contra Costa County offices and the Superior Courts) were
considering relocating, and no new businesses were moving in, no
housing was being built and old businesses were leaving.
Our agency has undergone a management transition. The new
leadership believes strongly in community outreach — including
keeping the community well informed and soliciting their feedback
through questionnaires. I have been hired to help in that effort.