Santa Cruz, Ca, August 12, 2011 – The California Fire Chiefs Association (CFCA) has a formed an Emergency Management Section to represent fire service-based emergency management programs throughout the state of California.
In 2009, the CFCA Executive Board identified the “Creation of an Emergency Management Section” as one of the Association’s high priority areas. Many California fire agencies have responsibility for the emergency management/disaster preparedness function in their communities, but no fire service-based forum has existed for the sharing of ideas and best practices. CFCA proposed the formation of the Section to create just such a forum for fire agencies with emergency management responsibilities and to work with other existing local and state emergency management organizations such as the California Emergency Services Association.
Two public forums were held in April 2010 to discuss the formation of the proposed section. Based on the overwhelming support for the proposal from attendees, a working group was established to draft bylaws for the new section, which were approved by CFCA in January 2011. A Board of Directors for the section was elected in February 2011, consisting of the following officers: President Sabina Imrie (City of Berkeley Fire Department), Vice-President Breanna Medina (City of Rancho Cucamonga Fire Department), Secretary Stacy L. Barnes (City of Compton Fire Department), Treasurer David L. Mathe (Five Cities Fire Authority), Branch Director – North Marla Blagg (Alameda County Fire Department), and Branch Director – South Peter Lent (Riverside County Fire Department).
The inaugural meeting of the section was held on May 31, 2011 at the CFED West Conference in Ontario, CA. During this meeting, the section officers and prospective members discussed the goals for the section and strategies for developing the section into a valuable tool for California emergency managers. The meeting also included presentations by Sharron Leaon (Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness) and Mike Staley (Assistant Director of Disaster Volunteering and Preparedness) from CaliforniaVolunteers on the use of volunteers during disasters; and by Richard Garcia (Radiological Technical Specialist) from San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station and Lynne Olson (Senior Emergency Services Coordinator) from the Nuclear Preparedness Program at the California Emergency Management Agency on nuclear power plant emergency preparedness and response. The section also hosted a certification exam for ten applicants seeking the Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) designation through the International Association of Emergency Managers.
More information on the section – including a schedule of upcoming meetings and events as well as board contact information – can be found on the CFCA website at http://www.calchiefs.org under the “Emergency Management” link on the left hand navigation bar.