Kyle Franklin of Berkeley vividly remembers the October day in 1991 when a firestorm swept through the Berkeley and Oakland Hills. “It was a pretty morning, very warm,” he recalled. “I remember walking out of the house and thinking to myself, this feels strange. Something is going to happen.”
October 2011 is the twentieth anniversary of the Berkeley and Oakland hills fire. Between October 19th and 22nd, the fire killed 25 people, including one Battalion Chief and one Police Officer and destroyed 3,354 structures. The East Bay suffered the largest economic loss ever sustained in such a short time period, estimated at $1.5 billion.
In remembrance of that tragic event, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, Sheriff Greg Ahern and County Fire Chief Sheldon Gilbert are hosting a special emergency preparedness event on October 22 from 10 AM to 2 PM at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Berkeley.
“There is no way to prevent the next disaster,” said Supervisor Carson, “but citizens can take steps to better prepare themselves and their families and get informed about the plans that are in place for government agencies to respond to emergencies.”
Alameda County government is constitutionally mandated to be responsible for the health, safety and welfare of all of its citizens. The County Sherriff is in charge when there is a major disaster such as an earthquake, fire, or terrorist act. The Sheriff is also responsible for coordinating the responders, which would include decision makers from the County’s Fire Department, Public Works Department, Health Care Agency, and the city fire departments, schools districts, and providers of children’s and senior services. Furthermore, the Sheriff runs the Office of Emergency Services and the related satellite offices, a 24 hour electronic and technical command network, fully equipped and operational for any and all natural or manmade disasters and terrorist acts.
With the help of essential county departments, government agencies and community based organizations, the event will feature a series of presentations and interactive workshops demonstrating county operations and sharing information on how to best prepare communities for disasters. The event will educate citizens about where to look for sources of reliable information, Alameda County’s leadership role during an emergency, and appropriate ways for citizens to respond when the next disaster happens.
To register for the event, please visit: http://disasterprepalamedacounty.eventbrite.com/
The event is sponsored by: Motorola, Andrada and Associates, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Bertrand Fox & Elliot, LazerLink International, DCR Group, Hanna Brophy MacClean McAleer & Jensen LLP, Kaiser Permanente, Blaisdell’s Office Supplies, Hewlett Packard, Paramedics Plus, Bond Tree Medical