State Agencies Continue Support for Cities and Counties Affected by Storms
SACRAMENTO, Calif. – State agencies on Wednesday continued to support the emergency response efforts of California cities and counties affected by the heavy rains, high winds, mud and debris flows and high tides that occurred throughout the state since late last week.
Earlier today, personnel from the CAL FIRE/Riverside County Fire Department were involved in three dozen water rescues and more than 100 incidents involving flooding, while their counterparts with the Cal Fire/City of Highland Fire Department in San Bernardino County were responding to major flooding and mudslides in the southeast part of the city. Since Saturday, CAL FIRE personnel have been deployed to more than 4,600 incidents throughout the state, including 530 traffic accidents, 235 flooding incidents and 56 water rescues.
The response of CAL FIRE personnel is just one example of state agency support of local response efforts.
At the direction of the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal EMA), eight hand crews from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), each accompanied by a supervisor from the California Department of Fire Protection (Cal FIRE), are supporting emergency response operations in Riverside County. An additional two hand crews and supervisors from the California Conservation Corps are assisting in Orange County.
Earlier this week, Cal EMA mission tasked the Department of Water Resources to provide 50,000 sandbags to Kern County and directed the California National Guard to operate emergency shelters housed at its armories in Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties round-the-clock.
One of the keys to the response so far has been coordination.
Since late last week emergency officials from local, state and federal agencies, non-governmental organizations and the private sector have been conducting conference calls to ensure situational awareness about weather conditions throughout the state, potential problems and resource needs.
“Governor Schwarzenegger has often praised California’s firefighters, law enforcement personnel and other first responders,” said Cal EMA Undersecretary Mike Dayton. “The response by the emergency management community has been extraordinary.”
Even though forecasters are predicting better weather in the coming days, state agencies remain prepared to support local government, the Cal EMA Undersecretary said.
“The soil in many areas of the state is now beyond the saturation point, making them vulnerable to mud and debris flows,” said Undersecretary Dayton. “We will remain vigilant and be prepared to support any additional requests from local government.”
He urged residents of California, particularly the burn areas to continue their own preparedness efforts.
“All of us share in the responsibility for our own lives and those of our loved ones,” he said. “I encourage all residents of California to learn more on how they can be better prepared by contacting their local office of emergency services or visiting the Cal EMA Web site at http://www.calema.ca.gov.”