Wednesday Feb 20 2008
Rocklin keeps emergency plan current
By: Lauren Weber, The Placer Herald
The Rocklin Fire Department presented its annual update to the Emergency Operation Plan at last week's city council meeting. Fire Chief Bill Mikesell discussed measures Rocklin's fire department has been taking to adhere to the national emergency plans, as well plans implemented within Rocklin to better serve the city if disaster strikes. Part of the update was to inform Rocklin on how the fire department has been keeping up to date on procedures and plans, and inform the public on their training and certifications. In Rocklin we put together a Rocklin specific plan that both reinforces and complies with the state plan, Mikesell said. Rocklin adheres to the National Response Framework, an overarching document that helps all of us be on the same page, he said. The National Response Framework is approximately an 80-page manuscript, which is the edited and condensed version of the more than 400-page National Response Plan. The idea behind it is to use one system, language and agenda for the nation. It puts us all on the same page, Mikesell said. The Rocklin-specific strategy uses common language of how to react in disasters, but gets more locally specific. The EOP is a collective document all of us operate on, Police Chief Mark Siemens said. The fire and police departments conduct drills together, attend classes and receive certification in order to keep current on emergency situations. Siemens said that there are more specific plans for the police department called a Critical Instant Response Guide that directs the police department on how to respond to hostage and other situations. Mikesell serves as an evaluator on other city's emergency plans, where he looks over their drill to ensure the objective is met and the drill stayed on time for the most effectiveness, and implements some of the plans here in Rocklin. Mikesell looks for any way the disaster plans can be improved upon because not doing well could have catastrophic results, he said. A recent system Rocklin has put into use is WebEOC, a Web-based computer program that allows the fire department to view and share disasters happening locally and in other counties. Also, with the passing of Measure H, a new fire station will be built in Clover Valley. Mikesell said they are currently searching for additional firefighters for the new station, and once opened, there will be trained professionals ready to help. It could be as many as two to four years out depending on how that develops, he said. Until then, one of the three fire stations in Rocklin will have two fire trucks and more firefighters. It will assist in the response times for the entire area, Mikesell said. Besides having another fire station available in the future, Rocklin utilizes a paging system during any type of disaster to notify emergency crew. Whether or not the person paged needs to be at the site everyone needs to react, Mikesell said, even if it's to say the message was received. With new tools and tactics, Rocklin emergency personnel are constantly updating plans to be better prepared in the event of a crisis.