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California Day of Preparedness


Families are always looking for fun things to do on the weekends and if those activities include the word “FREE,” hey, those are even better.

Well, hold on to your seats, we’ve got a fun, educational and entertaining event right around the corner that will help you take action to prepare.

California Day of Preparedness Event is coming up the first week of September in one of Sacramento’s favorite destinations – Old Sacramento. We’re celebrating National Preparedness Month reminding participants that the time to get prepared is now!

The four-hour event that starts at 10am and we have a great lineup of demonstrations and participant booths.

Below are just of the few demonstrations you will get to see: 

  • SAC County K-9 will give us a K-9 demonstration
  • PG&E’s all-electric powered bucket truck will show us just how high they can go and how they help during emergencies, plus they will show us an electric and gas safety demonstration 
  • Sac Sheriff DART Team and Marine Units will show us how they operate and use DART swift water members to complete two operations and how they save lives!
  • Boating and Waterways will have a life jacket competition for kids and if your kid participates they will get a life jacket FREE!
  • Boy Scouts will be ready to showcase their skills with first-aid demonstration and how to set-up a tent properly
  • CARDA will share their search dog & handler program and you’ll get to meet a four-legged hero
  • Shelf Reliance will showcase freeze dried foods and samples and how to prepare them
  • Sac CERT Team will demonstrate cribbing or bring out a flame pan and let the kids learn to use a fire extinguisher (water, not chemical).
  • American Red Cross will show us how easy it is to create an emergency kit
  • UC Davis Arboretum: Will showcase how to place the “seeds of change” into a properly drought potted plant and have a volunteer assist. Volunteer gets to take the plant home.

Those are just some of the educational demonstrations happening at the event. 

National Preparedness Month kicks off September 1st and Cal OES is joining the efforts to work with every California and show them how to be resilient in future disasters.

Please join our event and share it with your family and friends!

Governor Brown Secures Fire Management Assistance Grant from FEMA to Assist Fire Agencies Battling Junction, Way Fires

Photo of California Governor Jerry Brown

High temperatures and extreme drought conditions have California firefighters battling the Junction Fire in Madera County and the Way Fire in Kern County. Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., today secured two Fire Management Assistance Grants (FMAG) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to enable the availability of vital firefighting cost reimbursement for those local, state and tribal agencies responding to the fires.

So far, the Junction Fire has consumed more than 500 acres, threatening structures and causing evacuations in the Oakhurst area. The Way Fire, which has burned more than 800 acres, is also threatening homes Wofford Heights and evacuations are underway.


The grant, which is provided through the President’s Disaster Relief Fund on a cost-share basis, will assist local, state and tribal agencies responding to the fire to apply for 75-percent reimbursement of their fire suppression costs. Local, state and tribal agencies are responsible for the remaining 25 percent of their costs.

The Junction Fire and Way Fire exploded over a period of a few hours to threatened homes with dangerous rates of spread. In Madera County, evacuations are ongoing for the area of Road 425A near Highway 41 and Highway 49. Around the rest of California, red flag warnings are in effect and other fire outbreaks are a major concern for local officials.

Additional information is available at:

Governor’s Drought Task Force Calls Together Bay Area Officials To Discuss Impacts of Historic Drought

Executive Director of San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, Anne Kronenberg, offers opening comments at today's Drought Task Force meeting.

Executive Director of San Francisco Department of Emergency Management, Anne Kronenberg, offers opening comments at today’s Drought Task Force meeting.

SAN FRANCISCO – Summer is in full swing in California, which is intensifying the effects of the ongoing and historic drought. Today, the Governor’s Interagency Drought Task Force met with local government officials from the Bay Area to hear first-hand how the drought is affecting their jurisdictions.

Sonoma, Napa, Marin, Solano, San Francisco, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Alameda & Santa Clara County government officials, water managers, agricultural commissioners and others gathered at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission to share their current impacts and mitigation efforts. The Drought Task Force also heard how the State could strengthen its partnerships with the Bay Area to ensure swift response to public safety, public health and ecological concerns.

“Meeting face-to-face with local leaders who are experiencing these extremely harsh drought impacts is really improving our response to this unprecedented drought,” said Cal OES Director and Chair of the Governor’s Drought Task Force Mark Ghilarducci.

On Friday, April 27th, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. signed an executive order that cuts red tape to help get water to farmers more quickly, ensure communities have safe drinking water, protect vulnerable species and prepare for an extreme fire season. The order also calls on doubling water conservation efforts in every way possible.

“California has communities at risk of acute drinking water shortages,” said Nancy Ward, Deputy Director of Cal OES. “It’s critical that we all work together to come up with solutions to cope with our statewide crisis.”

Drought Task Force leaders have made stops in Sacramento, the North Coast (Ukiah), the northern San Joaquin Valley (Merced), the Central Coast (Santa Cruz), Tulare County (Visalia) and Gold Country (Sonora).


“Governor Brown’s $687 million drought relief package is providing much needed financial assistance to people and agencies affected by the drought,” said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “San Francisco will be actively pursuing available funding opportunities to support our ‘shovel ready’ water conservation and water supply projects, and we’ve asked all City departments, businesses and residents to reduce water usage by 10 percent. Given the severity of the drought, we need everyone to do their part to conserve water.”

For the latest actions by the State and the Drought Task Force, follow us on Twitter!

Photos from today’s event are available here.

Attendees of today’s meeting included:

  • Mark Ghilarducci, Director – Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
  • Nancy Ward, Chief Deputy Director – Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
  • Edwin M. Lee – Mayor, City of San Francisco
  • Harlan Kelly, Jr. – General Manager, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
  • Anne Kronenberg – Executive Director, San Francisco Department of Emergency Management
  • Felicia Marcus, Board Chair – State Water Resources Control Board
  • Sandra Schubert, Undersecretary – CA Department of Food & Agriculture
  • Greg Martinelli, Wildlife and Lands Program Manager – CA Department of Fish and Wildlife
  • Jodi Traversaro, Coastal Regional Administrator – Governor’s Office of Emergency Services
  • Jeanine Jones, Multi-Agency Liaison Deputy Director – Department of Water Resources

California Deploys Personnel to Support Hawaii’s Response to Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio

Satellite View of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio Approaching Hawaii

Satellite View of Hurricanes Iselle and Julio Approaching Hawaii

At the direction of Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr., specially trained personnel from the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the California National Guard (CNG) with emergency response and management expertise have been deployed to assist with emergency response activities in Hawaii.

During their four-week deployment, Cal OES and CNG personnel will use their specialized technical skills to help Hawaiian emergency management officials at the state’s Emergency Operations Center in Honolulu support the state’s response to Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio.

The California contingent is part of a 10-person team being formed by the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency (HI EMA) through the Emergency Management Assistance Compact (EMAC) to help the state with response operations.

“We are leaning forward in assisting our state partners in Hawaii as they face the immediate threat of Tropical Storm Iselle and Hurricane Julio as well as the challenges that will follow,” said Cal OES Director Mark Ghilarducci. “California knows all too well how disasters can impact lives, communities and the agencies that serve them.”

The Cal OES Director noted that assistance provided to first responders by personnel assigned to local and state emergency operations centers is critical to helping protect lives, property and the environment.

“The personnel from Cal OES and the California National Guard deployed to Hawaii are highly trained and experienced in operations, logistics and other emergency operations center functions,” Ghilarducci said. “We are confident that their support of emergency officials in the state’s emergency operations center in Hawaii will help the first responders meet the life safety and immediate post-hurricane needs of their residents.”

EMAC, which includes the participation of all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, Guam and the U.S. Virgin Island, is a mutual-aid system that helps affected states and territories obtain skilled personnel and critical services from one another during and after governor-declared disasters.

For more information:

California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services,

Federal Emergency Management Agency,

Emergency Management Assistance Compact,

American Red Cross,


California Fire and Rescue Training Authority Welcomes New Executive Director

Ruben Grijalva, appointed Executive Director at CFRTA

Ruben Grijalva, appointed CFRTA Executive Director

Sacramento – The Governing Council of the California Fire and Rescue Training Authority (CFRTA) announced the appointment of Ruben Grijalva as the new Executive Director of the CFRTA.  CFRTA provides excellence in training and education for the development of knowledge, skills, and abilities in the most effective, efficient, and innovative manner.

Grijalva is the former California State Fire Marshal and Director of CAL FIRE.  He was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 and served through 2009. Previously, he was the fire chief for the City of Palo Alto, CA for 10 years. Chief Grijalva began his career in 1974 with the Sunnyvale, CA Department of Public Safety, a fully consolidated public safety agency.  He has 40 years of public safety experience.

Grijalva stated, “I am excited about the opportunity of continuing the work of the CFRTA building a state of the art training facility and providing high quality education for fire service professionals, those trying to get into the fire service, as well as private industry.”

The California Fire and Rescue Training Authority is a non-profit Joint Powers Authority (JPA) formed in 1997 by the California Office of Emergency Services, Sacramento Metropolitan Fire Department, and the City of Sacramento Fire Department as member agencies.

The JPA provides fire academies, paramedic academies, EMT training, the full scope of State Fire Marshal training and certifications, and Urban Search and Rescue training and coordination for the 8 California USAR teams.

PCWA Sets the Bar for Saving Water During Drought

In January, Governor Jerry Brown demanded 20% water conservation when he declared a statewide drought emergency in January. The Placer County Water Agency in Northern California set a high bar for other water agencies around the state when it comes to saving water. The PCWA attained a 30% cut.

“Our own operations are an element of conservation,” said Tony Firenzi, PCWA Deputy Director of Technical Services. “How we operate this open canal system and making sure water is not spilling too frequently and making sure leaks are fixed quickly.”

The PCWA maintains a 165-mile network of irrigation canals, which carry water to more than two hundred thousand residents, but the ongoing drought has put the squeeze on the PCWA.

Through the month of June rainfall in Placer County is down 40%. Combine that with a snowpack that’s down 90% and Placer County has tied the record for its third driest year.

“We’ve asked [customers] cooperation in any voluntary cuts that they can make,” Dave Thompson, PCWA Deputy Director of Field Services said. “We weren’t sure what the response was going to be. We were hoping for a good response, the response we’ve gotten has been tremendous.”

PCWA has been calling its customers directly to ask for their help. They’ve gotten more than a hundred replies and John Nitta, owner of High Ranch Nursery in Loomis, is one of them.

John Nitta References the Ridge Behind His High Ranch Nursery

John Nitta References the Ridge Behind His High Ranch Nursery

“You see that ridge behind us,” he says pointing the hill on the west side of his property, “it’s at that top of the hill there… we’re at the end of the antelope canal. It’s great water, it’s Sierra runoff.”

Nitta has always taken his full allotment of water, even if he didn’t need it. He worried that he wouldn’t get it back, which could have happened in the past. The PCWA has changed their approach this year to encourage more conservation.

“This year with the voluntary cuts, we’re guaranteeing that you get your water back next year if you take a voluntary cut this year,” Thompson said.

So John took advantage of that, now only buying what he needs on his two accounts.

“This year we cut back voluntarily because we knew we wouldn’t be penalized to lose our water for the future,” says Nitta.

Meanwhile, at the top of the ridge behind Nitta’s nursery, Thompson showed a row of about 6 small water control pipes buried in an old wooden box at the foot of a water collection pool for the Antelope Canal.

Dave Thompson Displays the Water Diversion Box for Antelope Canal

Dave Thompson Displays the Water Diversion Box for Antelope Canal

“These are each individual services and in the valley down below, all the parcels down there, is where this water goes,” Thompson said, while pointing to the open box and the water flowing through it.

Water supply is controlled by this low-tech process that looks like it hasn’t changed since the days of the miner 49’ers.

He points to a specific one and said “this one here belongs to high ranch nursery.”

“This one here is a 14 inch slide plate; that’s what high ranch usually purchases at this service a normal year. This drought year they’ve gone to a 50% reduction voluntarily to a seven inch orifice plate; so they’ve cut their delivery in half.”

High ranch took a 50% cut on one service and a 40% cut on its second. He’s one person, one business. Now multiply that by the number of customers and PCWA has set the bar high for encouraging conservation, and getting it.

“We’re saving about in the neighborhood of 225 acre feet a month at the moment” Thompson said. “It’s the middle of July and we’re still receiving more voluntary cuts each week.”




Firefighters from Across the State Join Forces to Combat 14 Active Wildfires

It’s been only a few days since lightening began sparking more fires in the dry lands of Northern California. Currently, more than 1,600 firefighters from across the state are working together to contain fourteen active wildfires: eleven in Northern California and three in Southern.

It’s times like this when the coordination and helping hands from other agencies comes into play. The Mutual Aid System is an extension of the concept of “neighbor helping neighbor.”

“The California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid System was created to provide for a systematic mobilization, organization and operation of fire resources in mitigating the effects of fires,” said State Fire and Rescue Chief Kim Zagaris. “It’s also there to provide comprehensive plans for the quick response of available fire services on a local, area, regional and statewide basis.”

Cal OES and locally owned engines form strike teams consisting of five engines and a command vehicle. These strike teams are directed by the State Fire and Rescue Chief to the areas of need anywhere in the State.

As of Monday, August 4, 2014 the following are the California Fire and Rescue Mutual Aid Resources assigned to contain the wildfires:

  • 20 OES Strike Teams
  • 57 Local Government Strike Teams
  • 1648 Total Firefighters from across the state including (Shasta County Fire, San Luis Obispo City Fire, Atascadero City Fire, Chula Vista Fire, and Riverside County Fire).
  • 392 Engines
    • 100 from Cal OES

This system involves more than 1,000 fire service organizations throughout California that pledged to assist with mutual aid through the mobilization of shared firefighting resources. These firefighting agencies, together with Cal OES, own more than 6,000 fire engines.

The California Fire Service and Rescue Emergency Mutual Aid Plan was first prepared and adopted in 1950 as Annex 3-C of the California State Civil Defense and Disaster Relief Plan. This plan has been reviewed, revised, approved, and adopted after careful consideration by the OES Fire and Rescue Branch.

  • 2014 California Wildfires Snapshots – click here.
  • Learn more about California’s Mutual Aid – click here.
  • Stay up to date with the latest on the Summer 2014 Wildfire Season by subscribing to the Cal OES Newsroom, click here.



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