That was the message from Chris Boyer from the County Office of Emergency Services at Bethel Island Area Emergency Preparedness Committee meet-ing on Dec. 14 at the BIMID Hall.
One of the important issues is compliance with the Emergency Responders Credentials program. It requires doctors, public health employees, disaster managers, and public works employees - possibly including district reclamation and BIMID employees - to have undergone required training. When these trained people respond to an emergency, they also need to have insurance.
The training also could improve all communications between agencies during emergencies. The required credential training will take place in the first quarter of 2007. This insurance program will greatly improve a mutual aid agreement between agencies in the community.
Goodson reported that the next CERT (County Emergency Response Team) training session will take place Jan. 22, but the Bethel Island area will not be represented because no one from the Island volunteered to attend. Oakley and Antioch will be represented at the Jan. 22 session.
Boyer said there is a need to know about Assembly Bill 450, which requires a list of the needs and locations of the vulnerable population, such as people confined to wheelchairs and beds. Assembly Bill 451 has to do with animal shelters during emergencies to help ensure pets are taken care of.
At the meeting there also was a discussion on the requirements for street address signs on homes. The location and maintenance of the signs are very important. The county has an ordinance that requires a lighted address. What is important is that the fire department can see the address from the street.
A siren system on Bethel Island was also discussed. Bob Cameron reported that a plan has been designed that calls for at least four siren locations in the community. The sirens would be electronically controlled by officials in the County OES or the fire department or emergency teams on patrol. There is a possibility for grant funding to buy and install the sirens.
One of the longer discussions concerned the location for all agencies in the community to have a seat of government, storage of files and records retention that are out of the flood plain. It was suggested that a school building would be good so that public meetings could be held.
Another discussion concerned revitalizing a Neighborhood Watch program; one was active on Bethel Island some time ago. Pat Pava with the County OES will be contacted. It was suggested that a Neighborhood Watch program be started in all the communities in East County.
In a discussion on communications during an emergency, it was announced that BIMID is selling NOAA radios for $50 each. These radios have all the radio channels, a cell phone charger and a flashlight, and do not need batteries since they are charged by turning a crank on the radio. It also was suggested that all agencies active during an emergency have marine radios so they can communicate with marine patrols or boats assisting in evacuations.
- Contributed by