Santa Barbara Politics, Media & Culture

Monday, August 04, 2008

The Edhat Emergency Preparedness Manifesto Goes to BOS on August 19

Our friends over at Edhat have been organizing around emergency preparedness, held a town hall meeting and have prepared a letter to present to the Board of Supervisors. Here are the main points:

1) During an emergency there must to be a dedicated AM radio station that does nothing else but communicate relevant community information. This radio station should be well publicized during non-emergency times, so that every person in the County knows about it, and dials it up when needed. Ideally this station would have emergency generation.

2) The information on the radio station (as well as on official websites) must be updated regularly. And most importantly, the updates should come at predictable and pre-publicized intervals. When hearing or reading emergency information, the information should be time-stamped so citizens know when it was last updated and when the next update will come. Even if there is no new information available, the timestamp of the current update should change.

Consider adding your name at the link above as this is an important effort. Kudos to Edhat for doing something of value with their community.

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Anonymous Firepost said...

I guess a dedicated a.m. station would be nice. I figured these people complaining about a lack of information during the fire were simply daft. All I had to do was turn on the TV, radio or Laptop to figure it out. An old fashioned paper map helped too. I guess some people just have to have everything spoon-fed to them. In the end it's up to you to figure when to get your family out. I wouldn't wait for a report on the radio to tell me. Ed Hat readers posters seem like nice people but I think that many are overly gushy and have their heads up in the clouds in la di da land.

8/04/2008 4:47 PM  
Blogger johnsanroque said...

I think Firepost is being way too critical of something that's well-intentioned and needed. What was lacking during the fire was a place to go for official information--KEYT does not automatically assume that role. The other lack in local coverage was knowing the timeliness of the information you were hearing on TV or radio.

I'll admit to not knowing where the official information should be coming from: County? Fire Department? Police? all of the above?

I don't know if it would be practical to have a radio or TV station devoted to 24-hour coverage of fires (or earthquakes). That would depend on the seriousness of the problem. But it would be good for the County to let the residents know where to tune for official information, even if that information is given only on the hour or half-hour. And it would be equally helpful to tell the listeners the time that the latest information was released. I'd rather be spoon-fed the official information on evacuations instead of having a few dozen Fireposts all deciding on their own and clogging up the roads by waiting too long.

8/04/2008 6:48 PM  
Anonymous wineguy said...

The computer requires a functioning internet connection to be of any use. The television was not very helpful -- you got the scheduled news broadcasts but nothing much in between. KEYT did broadcast the afternoon briefings, but they did it on Channel 13 and never publicized it so you just had to find it on your own. The County Channel had a scroll with old news and no timestamps, so you never were quite sure what you were seeing.

To my mind the best news was from the Independent's website, and from KTYD/KTMS after the first few days.

I'm not whining at all, but in the next emergency a designated station with regular updates would be a great improvement.

8/04/2008 7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm...... I turned on KTMS. They were all over it.

8/04/2008 11:51 PM  
Anonymous County Govt. is failing said...

Seems like all the radio and TV stations that agreed to send out emergency information did not, or the County never asked them to do it and the Agreement with those stations is flawed.

Maybe this Edhat presentation at the County Board will light some fire under them and encourage the hiring of a new "information" officer for the County.

8/05/2008 10:02 AM  
Anonymous Where does it end? said...

KCSB did it for me----around the clock. Makes you wonder what people did in the early 20th century fire in SB---my recollection (though I wasn't born yet) was there was no: radio/tv/internet....true, lots of buildings burned...but geez, isn't there some middle ground? Oh wait, no homes burned in the Gap Fire.....oh wait, no injuries other than firefighters. I know, let's have full time nannies for every spoiled Santa Barbara resident. Even ones whose homes were never threatened by the Fire......

8/05/2008 10:34 AM  
Anonymous the chupacabra said...

The problem is without proper planning and publication of where to go in terms of a real emergency (ie earthquake) there may not be a resource available for the public to go to.

A major quake wil most likely take away the power, net service, tv, etc. In many areas that experience disasters on a more regular basis, like Florida with storms the government makes sure to have a way to communicate with the public. Just because we dont get major disasters on a regular basis does not mean we shouldnt be prepared. What firepost failed to consider was people in zones where the power outages hit and were threatened by the fire were understandably concerned about lack of info since they couldnt turn on tv or the web.

And due to our areas unique geography the wait time for help in a major disaster could be as logn as 7 days. The old mantra "survive for three days on your own" dosent really ring true as Katrina illustrated. Kudos to Edhat for listening to its members and working on their own to get this accomplished.

8/05/2008 11:37 AM  

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