Meeting our response-time targets consistently and throughout the day, even during commute times, is the highest goal I have for our District. To assure the highest quality of services, we have and will continue to have outstanding employees, superior training, effective procedures, and adequate facilities and equipment.
Protecting our human resources, backing them up in dangerous situations, and supplying then with the best life-support equipment available is a duty that we owe our firefighters, who put themselves in harm’s way to protect us, our families, and our homes and businesses.
Good planning, prudent procedures, thoughtful and respectful civic debate, and thorough transparency to the public are necessary to safeguard the resources our taxpayers entrust to the Board.
While civilian participation can be helpful even in everyday emergency situations, it is critical in a regional disaster. At best after an earthquake, flood, or widespread inferno, there will be less than 30 firefighters on duty to provide assistance to over 100,000 residents and employees in the District. We must continue to build the capabilities and the numbers of CERT volunteers so that they can assist their neighbors in a major disaster.
For a variety of reasons, including systems failures and human failures, the public has not had sufficient warnings in major disasters, including some in Northern California. The District is now testing an audio alerting device capable of both siren and voice alerts throughout the District. It can also be tied into the USGS’s “ShakeAlert” early warning system that uses sensors to detect P waves (compressional primary waves created by earthquakes that travel faster than the S waves that cause damage), providing residents and employees with as much as 45 to 60 seconds of warning to clear elevators and dangerous situations.
(Action photos courtesy of Menlo Park Fire)