On August 6th, 2014

The Not-So-Dull Days of Summer Lightning, Fires, Drought, Flash Floods, Mudslides

csleaAs emergency situations continue to arise in the Golden State , many of our  California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) members are out in the field keeping Californians, and visitors to California, safe.

"This is quickly becoming a public safety summer to remember," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona.  "With lightning, fires, flash floods, mudslides, the heat and drought - many of our CSLEA members are working long hours, away from their homes and families in an effort to protect people and property."

CSLEA Board Member and Fire Marshal and Emergency Services Association (FMESA) President Daren Watkins is one example.  On August 3, Watkins, a CALFIRE communications operator, was deployed to the Eiler Fire in Shasta County as a mobile communication center technician.  "We got the call to get up here on Sunday at 1:00 a.m. and we were out the door by 4:00 a.m.," said Watkins.  "This is a very dynamic incident.  We have had to think outside the box because of the draw down of resources.   There are  multiple incidents throughout the state involving fire and flood."

Watkins said even those who are not deployed to areas away from home are putting in long hours and  days off have been cancelled.  "While some FMESA members have been deployed, others are in the office maintaining a level of coverage to deal with the many day to day emergencies that arise.  There is no question resources are stretched throughout the state.  We have people helping with fires and people helping with flooding, from Oregon to Mexico, we're there."

At the Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES), emergency management professionals are directing  resources throughout the state to be sure all areas have the coverage needed.   It is an intense operation of logistics and communication.  This work is done in the office and in the field with OES personnel deployed to various  emergency sites.

California Conservation Corps (CCC) crew supervisors are leading CCC members as they assist on the fire lines and at fire camps.  The conditions are hot, the work is exhausting.

Additional calls to 911, road closures and the need for CHP officers has increased the workload for CHP Public Safety Dispatchers and Operators.  "During these very stressful times the public is in very good hands with our CHP dispatchers," said Tina Brazil, CSLEA senior vice president and president of the CHP-Public Safety Dispatchers Association (CHP-PSDA).  "Getting help to those who need it is dispatcher's top priority.  Our CHP dispatchers  work together very well with surrounding law enforcement  fire agencies in all emergencies."

In addition, California peace officer-lifeguards, park rangers and wardens are responding to the emergencies, conducting rescues and protecting people from harm.

"Our law enforcement and public safety professionals have the extreme gratitude of every Californian they have saved from harm," said Barcelona.  "We thank them for their dedication and service and wish them a safe return home when the job is done.   Sleep and relaxation will feel pretty good, too."

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