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November 25, 2009 > Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness

By Dustin Findley

All city employees must receive National Incident Management System (NIMS) training. A one-day class is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Tuesday, December 1 in Council Chambers, City Hall, and will be repeated on Wednesday, December 2.

City staff is in the process of arranging a Strategic Actions For Emergencies (SAFE) class starting on January 20, 2010.

The Emergency Preparedness Commission (EPC) deems it necessary to have a representative from large business as a commissioner but further definition is required.

City Attorney Mike Ogaz is drafting a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the City and Milpitas Unified School District (MUSD) to facilitate a joint use agreement under which Milpitas High School's gym would become a care and shelter facility during an emergency. If the City and MUSD can agree terms, multipurpose rooms at elementary schools could be used for emergency efforts, if school is not in session. MUSD currently has an MOU with the American Red Cross.

"Milpitas High School's gym is one of the largest indoor facilities we have in the city" said MUSD Superintendent Karl Black. It would be needed if there were a flood or an earthquake.

At a joint meeting between the city and school district, EPC Chair Russ Cherry inquired about the availability of multi-purpose rooms in elementary schools as assembly points for neighborhoods before transferring residents to the major shelters (Milpitas Sports Center and the high school) once the joint use agreement is created. The school district will examine the proposal.

Organizers are in the early stages of planning the annual disaster drill at a Milpitas elementary school, coordinated between the City and MUSD. The drill will take place Wednesday, April 7, 2010 at Burnett Elementary.

The annual drill is an opportunity for the city's public safety personnel, other city staff and large numbers of community members to meet and learn what they must do to survive the aftermath of a disaster. The city and school district provide a special lunch, in appreciation of everyone's efforts, which their budgets covered when the economy was more buoyant. Local food vendors, who are an integral part of the community, have proved generous enough to assist.

Feeding 600 Burnett Elementary students and the other participants exceeds $3,000. Last year, Economic Development Manager Diana Barnhardt helped secure funds from vendors. Wal-mart and Safeway kindly donated $2,500 and $600, respectively.

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