"Our CSLEA members who are emergency communications operators, emergency management professionals, conservationists leading teams in fire fighting and fire camp management, are dedicating long days and weeks to the fire fight in California. Many of them don't have the opportunity to return home after their shifts, they're in the field for the long run." - CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SACRAMENTO- The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) would like to thank and recognize its many members who are currently involved in the firefighting efforts of more than a dozen fires burning in California, 12 of them in the central and northern part of the state.
"Organizing the resources sent to these fires is in the hands of our members who work in emergency management at the California Office of Emergency Services," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Some of these folks manage the fire crisis from the OES office in Rancho Cordova, while some of them are assigned to carry out their duties at the fire command centers, meaning they are working and bunking at fire camps for days on end."
Emergency management coordinators at Cal OES evaluate the resources throughout the state and make important decisions about where aircraft, firefighters and support personnel should be dispatched to, always keeping in mind that the very next emergency will need resources as well and no area of the state should be depleted of emergency response capability. Currently emergency management coordinators are tapping into resources out of state, and if need be, can tap into firefighting personnel from other countries. In 2008, Cal OES brought in fire crews from Greece and Australia to assist in firefighting efforts. In addition emergency management coordinators monitor and assist, if needed, in evacuation planning, shelters, air quality and transportation in the fire ravaged areas.
"When you have 22 major fires burning in the state, with the possibility of new ones starting anywhere at any given moment, it takes extreme care and planning to send the right resources to the right place," said Barcelona. "Our emergency management professionals are skilled at deploying response with the next emergency in mind."
Also involved in the fire fight and in maintaining the fire camps are California Conservation Corps (CCC) conservationists who lead teams of young CCC members in fighting fire and setting up and maintaining fire camps.
"Our conservationists have a huge responsibility in managing their teams out on the fire lines and at camp in what will likely be a very long fire season," said Barcelona. "Like other CSLEA members who are in the field, these professionals are away from their homes and families for days, if not weeks at a time."
Cal Fire communications operators are also in the thick of the battle, fielding 911 calls and dispatching crews. Communications operators are in constant communications with their fire fighting personnel and their needs for additional resources. They work with local law enforcement agencies when evacuations are necessary. The number of calls to dispatch increase dramatically during fire season.
"I know that none of our CSLEA members involved in this summer's fire fights expects or needs thanks or praise for what they do," said Barcelona. "But, on behalf of California residents and visitors, and as president of this association, I would like, very much, to recognize their efforts and extend a heartfelt thank you."