Emergency Preparedness Continues in Danville
With the devastation in Haiti and the recent earthquakes off the coast of California, emergency preparedness continues to be at the forefront of planning in Danville. Part of that planning includes making certain that Town staff are ready in the case of a large scale disaster.
On January 28th, several members of the town staff, along with officials from the City of San Ramon, San Ramon Fire Protection District and San Ramon Valley Unified School District, took part in specialized disaster training put on by the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI).
This is the fourth year the training has been offered and over 75 members of the Town staff have completed the weeklong program. “Our goal is to train staff on their duties and responsibilities before during and after a disaster,” said Danville Emergency Services Director Greg Gilbert.
Gilbert said that 58 staff members from the various agencies involved participated in 40 hours of CSTI training, funded through a $55,000 grant from the Department of Homeland Security. During the week the group learned about emergency management procedures, incorporating the National Incident Management System and California’s Standardized Emergency Management System. Classes focused on Operations, Logistics, Planning, Finance and Management of large scale operations.
For a final exam, the trainees were thrown into a simulated major disaster: a 7.4 magnitude earthquake which led to such issues as bridge collapses, dam collapses and major water systems damage.
“We wanted them to see just what would happen in the event of a disaster, and they all did really great,” said Gilbert. “They jumped into their jobs and really took control of the situation.”
Town of Danville Administrative Secretary Jacqui Hill was one of the 10 staff members this year to take part in the training. She said it was an eye opening experience.
“I wasn’t really aware of what goes on behind the scenes,” she stated. “Having had that kind of training it prepares your thinking in that direction. I feel like I have a better idea of what to do if something like that ever happens.”
Hill worked in Logistics, providing assistance to areas in need and working to find the supplies needed for the crews in the field.
“In one instance we had to get 500 meals to a (simulated) location,” she explained. “Sometimes it feels like an impossible thing to do, but it just takes time and patience.”
The CSTI training is just one of several ways in which the Town of Danville is working to be prepared for an emergency situation. In addition, there are classes held through the Fire District, information sessions and an annual Emergency Preparedness Fair.
“Danville is committed to providing the best response to local and area disasters. Quality training and comprehensive planning for these emergencies is critical in the overall plan for disaster preparedness,” said Gilbert.