Tony Ferrara is mayor of the City of Arroyo Grande and chief of State Agency Training and Support for the California Specialized Training Institute, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services. He can be reached at Tony_Ferrara@oes.ca.gov.
What would your city do if fuel was not available — at any price? Imagine that your contract supplier tells you that your regular fuel delivery will be delayed “indefinitely” due to a market disruption, refinery shutdown or the occurrence of a major disaster. Given the volatile nature of today’s petroleum markets, local government emergency plans must address potential fuel shortages.
As a native Californian, I’m accustomed to the aftermath of earthquakes. I have seen my own belongings cracked and smashed, and concrete turned to powder by the Northridge quake. A friend saw her kitchen knives fly out of their storage block and embed themselves in the opposite wall during the Landers quake in 1992, which had a magnitude of 7.3 on the Richter scale. Despite these experiences, I was not prepared for the devastation I saw along the Gulf Coast in May 2006, when I joined a group of Rotarians on a relief work trip to the town of Pass Christian, Mississippi.
For five seasons of Fox’s television series “24,” protagonist Jack Bauer and his colleagues at the Counter-Terrorism Unit have struggled to protect the United States from threats ranging from bio-terrorism to nuclear attack. This program may be great entertainment, but it also reflects real threats that we face in the world today.
The City of Monterey Park covers 7.73 square miles in the San Gabriel Valley east of Los Angeles, and the roadway system comprises 350 miles of paved streets. Most of the business districts and older residential sections have roads that were designed and installed in the 1920s. Traffic-related problems have increased due to the physical constraints of the streets, a burgeoning multilingual immigrant population and the city’s location between three of the most frequently traveled freeways in Los Angeles County.
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in the United States. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), approximately 10 million people are victims of identity theft each year. Each victim spends an average of $1,500 and 175 hours to recover a portion of their losses.
Consistent training on essential firefighting skills is critical for the protection of communities, citizens and firefighters. But the City of Eureka Fire Department and members of surrounding allied agencies lacked the ability to practice realistic structural firefighting techniques on a frequent, consistent basis. Unfortunately, this problem is not unique to the city’s fire department. There are no agencies within the tri-county area of Humboldt, Del Norte and western Trinity counties that operate facilities capable of simulating structural fire conditions in a controlled environment – despite the existence of qualified instructors.
Before Sept.11, 2001, most public safety agencies lacked the resources to communicate directly with one another via radio. In some cases, even police officers and firefighters within the same city were unable to communicate over radio. Add the inability of public works crews to communicate with first responders, and the end result was a generally less-than-efficient emergency response.
Controlled access gates at residential communities can present a formidable obstacle for law enforcement. Nationwide, public safety personnel have been challenged with the task of gaining immediate emergency access to gated private communities. Agencies everywhere are faced with the same dilemma: what to do when access gates delay emergency services. How can municipal administrators assist emergency responders in better serving the public? One solution is to give them the keys to the city, or something even better, the e-keys to the city.