- What worked? Activation of our City’s Emergency Operations Center. This provided all divisions of City government with immediate informational updates as to current weather conditions, power outages, emergency responses, downed trees, downed electrical wires and traffic hazards. The EOC was staffed by OFD, OPD, EOS, PWA, Parks & Rec., DOT and additional City Staff from the City Administrators Office, Mayor’s Office and City Council.
- What did not? Deputy Chief Luby is still evaluating our response to determine if there were any issues which could have been handled differently. Oakland Fire had a very few unforeseen issues.
- What did you not anticipate? The volume of calls for downed trees and power-lines throughout the City. OFD did however have a contingency plan for this. Fire Inspectors were on duty and able to relieve Fire Engine Companies on scene so that these Firefighters and their Fire Engines could go back into service and be ready to respond to medical or fire emergencies. The Fire Inspectors maintained site security along with OPD Officers and PST’s until PWA Tree crews or PG&E arrived on the scene.
- Did you prepare enough? …We believe so. OFD had additional Fire Engines and Fire Inspectors out actively patrolling the Oakland Hills to locate and mitigate any hazardous situations immediately. The extra staffing further reduced our response times and was critical to maintaining safety and preventing fires.
- What problems were you able to solve? How? OFD was able to maintain its immediate availability to respond to emergency calls due to the extra staffing of multiple additional Type III and Type I Fire Engines. With the additional 4 units patrolling the Oakland Hills, despite the high volume of calls to dispatch, all were immediately dispatched. The “HOW” is simply increased OFD staff on duty, both Fire Suppression crews and Fire Prevention Inspectors.
Ideas you will find useful—
My suggestion is that residents purchase portable cell phone battery charging packs. These can be plugged in and charged in advance and provide up to an additional 24 hours of portable power that can be taken with the person anywhere and keep your communications functioning.
If using a generator be sure it is not in an enclosed area and away from the home and exterior vents to prevent gas fumes (CO2) from entering the house.
Establish a plan ahead of time to be in contact with 2 homes on either side of you to allow for people being on vacation. You can use your car horn to alert that you need help or buy a small portable air horn as an alert device.
Turn you radio/clock/alarm over. There may be a compartment to put a 9v battery so it will function as a portable radio.
Manny Watson Assitant Fire Marshall
Vincent Crudele Supervisor Vegetation Management Unit
Oakland Fire Department 510-238-7391 Office