By Deanna Contreras
September is National Preparedness Month, a reminder for everyone to take action to prepare for any emergency. And that’s especially true in California where wildfires are burning throughout the state.
The City of Mill Valley in Marin County is doing its part to urge its agencies and residents to prepare for emergencies by hosting an Evacuation Drill each year. Specific neighborhoods within a Mutual Threat Zone are evacuated while first responders simultaneously conduct mock training exercises with local public safety agencies.
PG&E gas and electric crews were also involved in a mock scenario in which critical infrastructure is damaged.
“We find that these types of drills test our plans and test our processes and help us find the gaps,” said Evermary Hickey, PG&E director of emergency preparedness. “It’s the right thing to do and I would encourage everyone to also have a personal plan in place, so it’s not just PG&E but it’s all of us together.”
The multi-agency drill also addresses critical public health and safety issues likely to occur during a large evacuation, including: ensuring the safety of people, pets and livestock; how to administer first aid; sheltering and feeding evacuees; and power restoration following a wildfire.
“What this really does is build relationships,” said Fire Chief Tom Welch with the Mill Valley Fire Department. “It builds muscle memory within the community and builds muscle memory among the firefighters, police officers and with PG&E. Those relationships are built now so it makes response that much quicker.”
PG&E gas and electric crews provided safety demonstrations and showcased state-of-the-art equipment that may be used to restore gas and electric service to its customers.
“Safety is paramount at PG&E and one of the key parts of safety is making sure that we’re prepared for an emergency,” said Dave Canny, senior manager for PG&E’s North Bay Division. “We do our own drills and we partner with cities like Mill Valley and other communities to help them prepare in the event of an emergency.”
For information on how you can prepare your family for an emergency, visit www.pge.com/beprepared.
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.