First published in the August 12 print issue of the South Pasadena Review.
The South Pasadena Public Safety Commission heard on Monday an update about the city’s emergency operations plan, or EOP, which would be put in place in the event of a disaster in the community.
Fire Chief Paul Riddle said the plan has been under review for about six months.
The main purpose of the EOP identifies who does what in terms of the city staff during a disaster — who has what responsibility and what partnerships are established in the community to help mitigate issues and protect the community.
The plan is reviewed every three years, Riddle said. It’s not mandatory that it be updated, but, during those reviews, updates should be made to reflect changes in city staff in terms of positions being filled or positions being added or deleted “so we have an accurate picture of who is going to be responding to the emergency operations center and what they are going to be doing.”
There are annexes in the plans, with a new one being how the city responds to heat emergencies.
The reviewed EOP is expected to come before City Council in October for consideration.
During his presentation, Eric Zanteson, the city’s emergency manager and a division fire chief, said the plan covers all types of disasters including an earthquake, a wind event or terrorism.
All city employees are expected to return to work and act as disaster relief workers, Zanteson said, and through the EOP they know what their roles are.
One lead person, probably the city manager, will work with City Council to determine what the priorities and goals are going to be for stable processes in the city should a disaster occur.
After a wind event, for example, the public works, fire and police departments will work together, such as they did in 1997 and 2011 when significant winds hit the city knocking down many trees. “That’s the response element, that’s the first portion,” Zanteson said.
There is also the recovery element to the plan, he added, and that may take years to deal with. He pointed to Northridge earthquake in 1994 and how long it took to recover from that event. FEMA office was open for about 25 years after the earthquake, he said.
The plan also details what each city employee is tasked to do following a disaster, and it lists who is in charge of various areas and who reports to that person.
The plan also calls for tracking staff hours worked, resources used and costs, so the city can apply for funding to recover.
Also, the EOP looks at logistics for items such as water, food or building materials.