Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Better Late Than Never

The city of San Ramon, California, sits along the Hayward Fault, so the town would be well-served by having a closely coordinated community plan for disaster response.

Up to now, they haven't. But they're working on it:

San Ramon got on the disaster bandwagon after Hurricane Katrina, at the same time many public agencies in the Bay Area realized they would be ill-equipped to handle a calamity of similar magnitude. Locally, city officials decided more collaboration was needed between police, fire and other agencies, said San Ramon Mayor H. Abram Wilson.

"We all had our own plans, but no one was sitting at the table talking to each other," he said.

The city helped form the East Bay Regional Communications Joint Powers Authority — a consortium of Alameda and Contra Costa counties and every Alameda and Contra Costa city except Oakland and Piedmont.
I'm not looking to criticize San Ramon, but it is remarkable that a community in such a vulnerable position, with a city mandate to coordinate its disaster response, has not made a more intentional effort to collaborate on its disaster preparedness and emergency response.
Thursday was the first time the Disaster Council, a group of business, civic and school leaders commissioned by a San Ramon ordinance some 27 years ago, has convened in many years, San Ramon emergency preparedness manager Ray Riordan said.

The group included representatives from schools, Red Cross, San Ramon Regional Medical Center, Chevron, AT&T, PG&E and Bishop Ranch business park. Riordan said he hopes the group can meet quarterly to discuss plans for disasters together.

It's great that they're doing this now. Every community would be well-served to take a similar approach.

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