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Grand Jury: Marin Unprepared for Disaster

In its last report, grand jury blasts county for emergency preparedness.

In the final report of its year-long term, the Grand Jury blasted Marin County for its lack of disaster preparedness.

Read the report at right.

Between 70 and 80 percent of first-responders live outside the county, according to the report, and some as far away as Sutter, Butte, Kern and Nevada counties. In addition, only about 30 percent of first-responders are on duty at any given time. This means that residents will have to be able to take care of themselves for the first 24 to 72 hours following a large-scale disaster.

There are a number of community-based emergency training programs, including CERT and . These programs will be the first-line of defense following a large earthquake or fire.

However, many of the programs are poorly attended and the Marin County Office of Emergency Services doesn't maintain an electronic database of trained volunteers.

Mill Valley was called out, in the report, as an example of organized emergency planning. Mill Valley divides the town into blocks with block captains and divisions, where trained community volunteers will organize relief efforts within the neighborhoods. The town also practices evacuation drills regularly.

Have you taken an emergency training? Are you prepared to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours following an emergency? What else do you think towns and the county need to do to prepare for a disaster?

Robert J. Cleek June 29, 2011 at 12:24 AM
If we were prepared, how much of a disaster could it be? Nobody feels sorry for you when you're prepared. You have to look totally unprepared and clueless if you want to score any of that free FEMA money.
apbinfo June 29, 2011 at 09:58 AM
Database - When it comes to your property, can you see what to expect in case of loss, e.g., hurricane, tornado, earthquake, flood, fire? If you are like most of the insuring public you draw a blank on that question. The bigger question is when will you preempt the course setting...join the base? www.DisasterPrepared.net
Frank Keenan June 29, 2011 at 02:03 PM
For many of the growing number of frail seniors living in their homes alone, a delay up to 72 hours means one thing. First-responders will not need a lot of fancy medical gear. They will just need to bring body bags. The problem is serious.
Steven Norwin June 29, 2011 at 02:17 PM
Another ploy for low income housing. Marin County please don't use scare tactics on us.
Suzanne Saunders June 29, 2011 at 06:41 PM
I volunteer for two community service organizations, as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) for the Marin Medical Reserve Corps, whose members all live in Marin, and as Co-Founder of K9 Armor. My love of animals led me to UC Davis to take additional classes in animal rescue and I started a Non Profit Public Benefit Charity to give free K9 Armor bulletproof vests to all the law enforcement dogs of California. I am proud of my fellow volunteers at the Medical Reserve Corps, some are world-class doctors who donate their time in between visits to Katrina and Japan after the earthquakes and Haiti rescuing orphans, to teach us Epidemiology to help rescue our community here in Marin County in times of medical outbreaks, when we set up M*A*S*H* tents at hospitals. If you would like more information and to follow the latest news in how you can help to protect those who lay down their lives to protect us, please visit our web sites and facebook pages: http://www.k9armor.com http://www.facebook.com/k9armor http://www.marinmrc.org http://www.facebook.com/Marinmedicalreservecorps
Robert J. Cleek June 29, 2011 at 06:59 PM
I am familiar with the Marin Medical Reserve Corps, as well as the excellent broad-based disaster response program managed by Marin Sheriff/Coroner Robert Doyle. It is never possible to cover every unimagined contingency, but the MCSO and its many citizen volunteers have done about as much as is possible to ensure the safety of Marin's people in any major emergency. The Grand Jury's reported concern that "70 to 80 percent of Marin's first responders live outside the county" apparently fails to recognize that the "mutal aid" pacts in effect throughout California operate to distribute first responder resources efficiently in the event of any emergency, as is so often illustrated by our local fire fighting teams responding to Southern California wildfires. As is always the case in any widespread disaster event, we are all "on our own" for the first 72 hours. That's when the concept of "friends and neighbors" becomes truly meaningful.

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