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Stacy Lane
Director, JPA Services
445-7055
slane@hcoe.org

Taylin Titus
Occupational Safety & Loss Control Specialist
445-7067
ttitus@hcoe.org

Jean Legaz
Administrative Assistant
445-7126
jlegaz@hcoe.org
North Coast Schools' Insurance Group (NCSIG)
Emergency Preparedness

USEFUL TOOLS

• Chain of Command (PDF)

• Region 1 USDOE Emergency Response and Crisis Management (PDF)

• Emergency Operations Plan Template (Word Doc)
Emergency Preparedness Overview

Humboldt and Del Norte Counties are the two most northern, coastal counties in California. The population is sparse and scattered (Humboldt 127,700 population within 3,572.9 square miles; Del Norte 26,000 population within 1003 square miles). Eureka (population 26, 050) in Humboldt and Crescent City (population 8,805) in Del Norte are the largest cities in each county. These small cities and other smaller towns are surrounded by majestic redwoods, rolling mountains and isolated beaches. Most towns are municipalities; only seven cities in Humboldt County and Crescent City is Del Norte are incorporated. There are 34 school districts in the two counties.

Seismic Activity
Our region is the single most seismically active region in the continental United States. The Crescent City region of Del Norte County has earned the reputation as the West Coast’s “tsunami capital”. During this century, 24 earthquakes have caused significant damage to structures. The two counties are located in the Cascadia subduction zone where earthquakes will produce strong ground shaking and trigger tsunami waves that will reach coastal communities within minutes. In our region, strong earthquakes will isolate communities by damaging roads and cutting communications. Our counties as a whole may also be isolated from the rest of the sate by terrain that could prevent goods and services reaching the area after a major catastrophe.


Early Planning
The Cascadia Disaster Medical/Health Preparedness Project was formed in 2000 as a joint project of the North Coast Emergency Medical Services, Humboldt County Public Health Department and the Del Norte County Public Health Department. The overall goal of the project was to provide support and coordination for emergency staff members in Humboldt and Del Norte County as they revised the disaster medical/health preparedness plans and developed resource lists and agreements.

The Cascadia Project identified how a major seismic “event” could cause bridges and roads to fail and become impassable, potentially isolating all of our urban and rural communities from each other. In this scenario, the urban and rural communities that will be isolated were called “Isolated Islands of Humanity” or IIHs. Potential Field Treatment sites were identified. A public school was identified at every Field Treatment Site.

Given the information from the Cascadia Project, local, state and federal response agencies were able to develop preparedness and response action plans to aid residents in our communities quickly.

Current Preparedness
Since the SB 187 Hughes Comprehensive School Safety Plan requirements were established in 1997, the school district has worked to ensure that each school in the county has an up-to-date comprehensive school safety plan. Each safety plan covers a broad array of emergency situations, including natural events, medical emergencies, and man-made crises.

Community Partnerships
Because of the very real threat of natural disaster, the North Coast Schools’ Insurance Group has established cooperative relationships with local emergency agencies, to collaborate and develop emergency response plans and training for each of the public schools located in our consortium.

  • The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services conducts an Operational Area (OA) Meeting bimonthly for interdisciplinary OA agencies and organizations that have an emergency management interest. Attendees include representatives of county departments (Sheriff, Public/Environmental Health, Public Works, Social Services, Coroner), OA cities (police, fire public works), OA special districts (fire, water, schools), state and federal agencies (OES, California Department of Forestry (CDF), California Department of Transportation, California Highway Patrol, Department of Fish and game, Humboldt State University, National Weather Service, U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Coast Guard), non-profit groups (American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Emergency Medical Services) and other interested organizations (Amateur Radio (HAM), Volunteer Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD), tribal groups, hospitals). The meetings are a cooperative effort to coordinate information relating to emergency management functions within the OA.

    Attendees review issues such as current events, individual agency/organization status, training/exercise opportunities, grant funding, and emergency preparedness/planning. The meetings provide a forum to facilitate a better understanding of the individual agency’s and individual organization’s status, capability, responsibility, and coordinating role in the OA’s organized response to area-wide emergencies.

  • Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group (RCTWG) – brings together government agencies, service groups and the private sector to mitigate tsunami hazards in Northwest California to reduce loss of life from tsunamis. One of the methods RCTWG uses to educate the public is to sponsor a Tsunami/Earthquake room at the Humboldt County Fair (1999 – present). Recently RCTWG members have established a walking evacuation route for the Orick community, assisted in a community-wide (Samoa) tsunami evacuation drill, and made many presentations interested communities.

  • Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOAD) - works with the Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services to coordinate human service needs following a disaster. Members of VOAD consist of agencies supplying emergency food, shelter, clothing, communication, counseling, and volunteer personnel during a disaster. VOAD serves as the coordinating body for these organizations, sharing information, directing resources, and screening and assigning volunteers. This organization was formed following the April 1992 earthquakes to coordinate information and resources among the nonprofit voluntary agencies throughout Humboldt County. Effective April 2003 in response to President Bush’s initiative, the VOAD by request of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office of Emergency Services became the Citizen Corps Council for Humboldt County. The membership was expanded to include first responders from law enforcement, fire and local government. Future Citizen Emergency Response Team Training (CERT) will be the responsibility of this group and will be coordinated through the United Way of Humboldt County with training curriculum and trainers provided by the American Red Cross.

  • Humboldt-Del Norte County Medical Society – Disaster Committee – has been the venue for medical/health disaster planning since the 1992 subduction earthquakes (7.1, 6.9 & 6.7 on the Richter scale) in an effort to provide a common forum for multi-disciplinary disaster planning. Currently, there are about 230 different entities on the committee. This includes the Public Health, Medical Society, hospitals, Rural Health & Tribal Clinics, county schools, fire departments, provider offices, home- health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, medical equipment suppliers, Sheriff’s office, Office of Emergency Services, HAM radio community, pharmacies and others. We meet on a quarterly basis to discuss current developments, plan disaster drills/exercises and share/review each entities individual response plans. All members are connected to a broadcast fax and e-mail list so important information can be disseminated quickly. The Counties are very rural, and remote that experiences many types of natural disasters that isolate many of our communities. This venue has allowed all these entities to identify each of the areas within the county that become “Isolated Islands of Humanity” (IIH) and develop coordinated multi-agency response plans. The county schools have been an integral part of our group in the development of our coordinated response plans and have supported the designation of their schools as primary shelter sites.

  • School Law Enforcement Network – consists of representative from the District Attorney’s office, law enforcement, school districts, county office of education, administrators, teachers, counselors, DSP officers, school resource officers, county drug program administrator, and drug prevention and intervention specialists. This committee meets four times a school year and is attended each time by 30-40 members. They advise and assist districts in the maintenance and enhancement of existing prevention programs. Provide districts with information regarding substance abuse identification, intervention and referral systems. Increase awareness of youth and gang violence and substance-use by supporting school and community in-services and by promoting conflict resolution programs in schools.

  • County-Wide Threat Assessment Team- was identified as a need by the school law enforcement network. The larger districts already had a team in place, we realized that small districts did not have the resources or personnel to create and or sustain one. The treat assessment team is to assist districts once an individual has been identified as possibly becoming a threat to himself or others. In the past, students who have caused violence showed signs of trouble beforehand. We have many agencies that may be already working with the student and/or their family, communication with affected agencies needed to occur. The goal of the threat assessment team is to assist, assess and advise the school, the identified student and his family with their crisis, before the student acts.