The city’s comprehensive Emergency Operations Plan, newly approved by the council at last Wednesday’s regular meeting, played a major role in this year’s Great California Shakeout in San Marino.
San Marino Fire Chief Mario Rueda presented the plan at the council meeting, placing the binder stuffed with procedural documents up on the dais.
“This represents and demonstrates our hard work to get this completed,” Chief Rueda said. “I thank the Mayor for his direction in making this a priority.”
The plan, unanimously approved by the council, includes comprehensive instructions for city personnel, executives and city council members for national and local emergencies, building upon a previous Emergency Operations Plan that was created by San Marino’s former Fire Chief Jim Frawley, the city’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, and national and state procedures. Rueda, who is responsible for coordinating and training city officials on the document, reviewed the plan carefully along with an outside consultant.
He said with the EOP “blessed” by the council, it will be sent on to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for approval. FEMA has been providing feedback on the plan, so it’s likely to be approved by the agency, Rueda said.
“It’s not so much the plan, but the planning,” he said. “This shows our city is making an investment…our city council has undergone training, and city officials have seen the plan and will undergo training, and we’re working toward community preparedness.”
The EOP and LHMP are required by federal officials and factors into the city’s eligibility to receive post-disaster aid funding.
Rueda said the most significant addition to the EOP was adding in a section on a gas main located underneath Garfield Avenue.
“It forces all of us to consider that hazard,” Rueda said, before referencing the deadly natural gas pipeline explosion in San Bruno in 2010. Eight people were killed and 38 homes were destroyed in the incident that found the Pacific Gas & Electric guilty of “failing to gather information to evaluate potential gas line threats and deliberately not classifying a gas line as high risk,” according to a report by the Los Angeles Times.
Rueda said San Marino’s gas line was tested during the first part of this year.
The EOP is located in the Emergency Operations Center, and will be used in conjunction with a process that incorporates the city’s Emergency Operations Center.
“My goal is for city employees to be comfortable coming to the EOC,” Rueda said. “We really want people to remember that this is about getting people together and looking at our priorities which are life, safety, property and preservation.”
The plan can be viewed on the city’s website under the “Fire Department” tab, which can be found under “City Government” in the top left-hand corner.
San Marino’s Local Hazard Mitigation Plan, which covers any emergencies specific to the city, has been available for public review since Sept. 18 through the city’s website, and at City Hall and the Crowell Public Library. A public workshop is scheduled for next Wednesday, Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. in the council chambers for citizens with questions or comments on the plan.