Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September: National Preparedness Month

September is National Preparedness Month, and it is the time of year that our community can come together  to protect the City from potential disasters. This means that community members should consider their own emergency preparedness plans, and consider ways to help during an emergency. There are many ways that the City is prepared to combat these disasters, however each individual resident of Foster City can play a major role. Here are the ways you can make a difference in the City’s preparedness plan:

Family Preparedness

The first step is to make sure that you and your family are prepared! A simple conversation at dinner, or Saturday breakfast can be the catalyst to getting the family ready. These conversations are vital and can lead to steps such as building a family emergency kit, and establishing a meeting place in case your home is uninhabitable due to fire or other emergency. Here are a few tips for taking action:
  • Children should know where the emergency kit is, and how to use some of the tools in the kit. 
  • Assembling a list of emergency contacts who live outside the area is also imperative. In the event of an actual emergency, local phone circuits will be impacted, and letting someone know that you are safe will give your family & friends peace of mind. 
  • Another problem families commonly forget is having a supply of vital medication on hand. Families should understand what medications are necessary for their own well-being. For example, diabetics who take daily medication for diabetes must have enough medication to last for at least a week, in case the disaster impacts typical ways of obtaining medications in a timely manner. 
  • Now is also a good time to review your homeowner or renter insurance policy for coverages related to natural disasters. 

For a top 10 list to see if your family is ready for an emergency, please visit: www.community.fema.gov/take-action/activities. Also consider signing up for SMC Alert for emergency alerts at www.smcalert.info.

Community Preparedness

There is a saying that “two heads are better than one,” and preparedness is no different. In this instance, having a community that is better prepared will have a greater impact than having only one individual being prepared. Emergency preparedness is a “whole community” effort. Your neighbor may need you when an emergency hits. Getting to know your neighbors, and planning with them, could be key to surviving a disaster and preventing as much damage as possible. Foster City has an amazing Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program that gives you the tools to help prepare your family to respond to a disaster with your neighbors.

Citizens can help first responders during emergencies by volunteering. CERT is a great way to get you, your family, and neighborhood prepared for an emergency. The City employs a team of volunteers whose sole purpose is to aid fire fighters, police officers, and other first responders in the event of an emergency. These brave volunteers provide an amazing resource in that they are citizens in neighborhoods across the City, and are trained to cope with the stresses of a disaster -- such as basic disaster skills, first aid, and team organization. When primary first responders are working on significant events, these individuals add to the recovery effort by providing these services. You may learn more about the program by visiting www.fostercitycert.org.

Community members can make a dynamic impact on disaster response and recovery efforts, but the first step to making a difference starts with being prepared. Start the conversation with your family, begin gathering the items you will need in your disaster kit, and get involved with the CERT program. You will be glad you did.

I would like to thank Jenelle Masterson for her continued leadership in her position as Emergency Preparedness Coordinator, as well as Vanessa Brannon who has passionately led the CERT Program.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Economic Development in Foster City

What does Economic Development mean for Foster City? The textbook definition of economic development is “any policy, program, initiative or activity that strives to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating jobs and retaining jobs.” To Foster City, economic development means so much more. It means supporting our vibrant business community, keeping jobs local and encouraging people to play, work, and live in a town we all love.

Created by the Economic Development Ad Hoc Subcommittee and approved by City Council on September 19, 2016, the Economic Development Strategic Plan is the first two years of programs and initiatives supporting long-term economic development in Foster City. The Plan addresses everything from workforce housing to traffic to ways in which businesses can market to each other! Directing the plan are several guiding principles. They include: 

  1. Maintain positive, ongoing relationships with the business community and economic development stakeholders;
  2. Create and sustain a safe, clean, green, and fiscally sound business environment that benefits all those that live, work and play in this City;
  3. Support the health and growth of businesses, especially in the areas of business intelligence and training, workforce development, workforce housing, and access to capital; 
  4. Continue to invest in public infrastructure that commercial and residential property owners need to thrive; and 
  5. Improve Foster City’s transportation network to address traffic congestion for commuters and residents.

I’m very excited for the next two years of economic development programs and initiatives that will enhance and support not only our business community, but all residents.