Town staff has been ramping up their disaster preparedness efforts this year in preparation of a “live” exercise to take place on October 16 as part of the Great California Shake Out. The Great California Shake Out is a now worldwide exercise to practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On at 10:16 am on October 16. You can participate as well and learn more by visiting California Shake Out.
Locally, staff will be working with the Atherton Disaster and Preparedness Team (ADAPT), local Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), local schools, neighborhood groups, Menlo Fire and the County Office of Emergency Services (OES) to host a “live” exercise to test local response and resources.
To prepare for the exercise, staff organized a series of practice drills throughout the year testing local response to flood events, train derailments, evacuations, and hazardous chemical spills. The Town’s Emergency Preparedness Training Coordinators have been meeting with local emergency response agencies and local schools to develop and test emergency scenarios. Last week, Atherton staff were called out to respond to an emergency scenario (train derailment and hazardous material spill). The team opened the Town’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and conducted a table-top response walking through exactly what to do and what not to do. Once activated, the Emergency Operations Center is run by the EOC Director - in Atherton’s case, this is the City Manager. The EOC is divided into five separate and distinct operational areas: Administration, Logistics, Planning, Operations, and Finance. All Town staff have been trained in the various operational areas and the practice drills have given staff the opportunity to work several types of localized disasters as an EOC team.
The October exercise at the Town EOC and Management level will run concurrent with ADAPT’s efforts at the neighborhood level (in the Lindenwood area) coordinating simulation drills and sending/receiving information from their command posts to Atherton’s EOC. The exercise will further enhance the Town’s response capabilities and functionality. Working together we hope to be able to flush out any issues that might arise; as well as give field staff and volunteers the opportunity to respond to a live exercise involving a local school campus and a localized disaster (fire, train incident, etc.).
So, if you are out and about in Atherton from around 9 am to noon - keep an eye out for us as we test our local emergency response abilities. You might see a school evacuation drill, you might hear some sirens, you might see fire and police moving swiftly through the streets, and you might even see neighborhoods lead by ADAPT performing “neighbor checks" and spot checking homes for potential damage. And remember, at 10:16 am on October 16 - Drop, Cover and Hold On!
For more information contact Theresa DellaSanta at 650-752-0529