Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Regional Preparedness in the Bay Area

Just a quick note with less content than I'd like. I couldn't find a copy of the actual document, but the cities and counties in the Bay Area have released a coordinated, regional disaster plan, the first in California:

In recognition of the need for a regional response to natural and human-caused emergencies Mayor Gavin Newsom, Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums, and San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed were joined by regional emergency management officials, first responders and the State of California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (OES) to unveil the Bay Area Regional Emergency Coordination Plan (RECP). Ten Bay Area counties participated in the development of the "base" plan that will serve as the foundation for nine subsidiary plans to be submitted in spring 2008.

"This project was an investment in more than just a document -- it's an investment in relationships," said San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
This is typical stuff coming from a politician, of course - but it's the right idea. Collaboration is about developing solid working relationships built on common interests.
The RECP provides an all-hazards framework for collaboration and coordination among emergency response entities in the Bay Area. The base plan focuses on the role of State OES in coordinating the regional response to an event. Additionally, the region will be continuing to work on more detailed plans in areas such as transportation, logistics and mass care and shelter.

The RECP will now reside with the Governor's Office of Emergency Services, as it is designed to be used at the state's Regional Emergency Operations Center which is located in Oakland.
And there were more instances of politicians saying the right thing:
"In a region as large and vulnerable as the Bay Area, the need for a collaborative and organized response is vital," said Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums. "The RECP is the first of its kind in the state and will ensure that if a major disaster occurs that all entities at all levels of government are on the same page."
The Bay Area has significant vulnerabilities, and not only from earthquakes. The bridges, ports, and transit systems are tempting terrorist targets. Much of the area's water is transported from inland. And of course, the area is a major economic and technological hub.

I would argue that for such an area, taking a regional approach to emergency preparedness should not be seen as particularly innovative or forward-thinking. I would say it's an instance of exercising due diligence.

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