by City Manager Ken Striplin
With raging fires, destructive earthquakes, severe weather, power outages and fast moving floods, our
City is no stranger to natural disasters. In fact, the City of Santa Clarita has been declared a federal
disaster area 12 times. Fortunately, a strong team of public safety partners and well-trained City staff are ready to take on the task of keeping our residents safe and protecting property.
Did you know that all full-time City employees are official Disaster Service Workers? Authorized by the California Emergency Services Act and defined in the California Labor Code, all Disaster Service Workers are required to report to work, and stay at work during and after a natural or manmade disaster. Our employees take this responsibility very seriously, participating in various planning and training sessions throughout the year. This upcoming year staff training will include active shooter awareness, mass casualty response, shelter operations, psychological first aid, and emergency operations position training.
To ensure that we are in step with our public safety partners, the City works closely with the L.A. County Sheriff's and L.A. County Fire departments. Besides holding regular meetings, the City also coordinates training opportunities so all players understand their roles and responsibilities during an incident.
During emergencies, City staff has many different responsibilities. Our Public Works crews may be assisting the California Highway Patrol and L.A. County Sheriff's Department with road closures and traffic control, our Communications Division will be at the command post working with our public safety partners to send out unified incident messages, our IT division will be activating the emergency blog SantaClaritaEmergency.com and posting updates on the website, our Emergency Services staff will be monitoring the incident and may help facilitate the activation of the Emergency Operations Center, if necessary, including coordinating with the American Red Cross to set up evacuation shelters when needed. Our City traffic engineers may be called upon to manage and regulate traffic using the City’s Intelligent Transportation System. The system allows staff to monitor real-time traffic congestion and adjust signal timing accordingly.
Now is the time to take a moment to review your personal emergency preparedness. Would you be able to answer and take action when asked the following questions: Where will you reunite family members if you are separated? What route (and several alternates) will you use to evacuate your neighborhood? Who is your out-of-state “check-in” contact? What does it mean to shelter in place? How will you escape your home during a fire? What about your workplace, school or place of worship? When was the last time you checked your emergency kit or made sure you included your pet in your emergency planning? Is your neighborhood prepared? Are you aware of elderly people or people with special needs on your block that may need assistance? Making sure your family is ready and resilient is the first step in community preparedness. For emergency preparedness resource information, please visit Santa-Clarita.com/Emergency.