In terms of preparation, both the Fire and Public Works Departments have been actively coordinating at the County level to access current resources and to determine additional resource needs (such as sandbags, equipment, etc.). Our Public Works Department recently participated in a regional workshop on October 21 with members of the County, State, FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers to identify additional steps that may supplement Foster City’s existing preparedness activities. As part of Foster City’s regular operations, staff has identified and routinely implements maintenance and prevention steps that are done to eliminate the pressures of excessive storm runoff, such as clearing storm drains. Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Police and Fire also have standard operating procedures for coping with the effects of storms (such as monitoring and lowering the lagoon level, handling downed trees, unsafe roadways, etc.).
With regard to incident response, staff is currently working to develop an Incident Action Plan (IAP). Once completed, the IAP will be activated in the days leading up to a significant weather event containing up to date reports and predications, as well as contact information, call out procedures, and will reference the aforementioned standard operating procedures that relate to the hazard specific response. During these weather events, regular conference calls with the County take place to allow for Foster City to communicate our status and request assistance, if necessary. In the unlikely situation that the effects of a single weather event, or cumulative effects of an extended period of weather, exceeds the capability of our city’s response resources, the City Manager may choose to enlist additional support in the form of a partial or full activation of Foster City’s Emergency Operations Center. At such time, the Emergency Operations Plan would be employed.
I am confident that the City is in a position to handle the forecasted El Nino winter. I urge residents to take the same level of precaution. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your family:
1) Keep an Emergency Kit with non-perishable foods, water, a first aid kit, flashlight, portable radio, and extra batteries.
2) Make an Emergency Plan for your Family – Does your family have a meeting place? Where will you go if you need to evacuate? How will you contact family if cell phones are down? Plan ahead!
3) Clear rain gutters and check your roof for leaks (before the rain starts!).
4) Check your yard for items which could potentially be carried by wind.
5) Store your important documents (birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.) where they will not be affected by leaks or flooding.
6) Check your car tires and windshield wipers.
7) Stock up on sand bags and keep them in a dry location until they are needed. Sandbags will be available as needed in the City Hall Parking lot for residents to fill up and take home.
8) Check the exterior of your home for cracked paint and loose window panes, which could allow for leaks or promote dry rot.
9) Consider investing in a portable generator for your home.
10) Bring your pets inside away from the weather.
These are just a few of the things which you can do to help keep your loved ones safe in the event that we are affected by a strong El Nino winter. For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit the City’s website at http://www.fostercity.org/fire/communityoutreach/Planning-for-Emergency.cfm.