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Bay Area seeks half Federal funds available
for disaster preparedness

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco director of Emergency Services Annemarie Conroy, Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente and San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales join a scheduled press conference on Treasure Island to ask for emergency preparedness dollars from the Federal Government.
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Pat Murphy

February 24, 2006

Ten Bay Area counties today jointly asked for nearly half the Federal funds available for homeland security preparation.

Some $107 million of the $333 million Bay Area request would permit all 132 agencies to communicate instantly, reported San Francisco director of Emergency Services Annemarie Conroy.

Conroy joined San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales, and Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente on Treasure Island to detail regional funding request.

"This super-urban area involves a population of seven million people and 88 square miles," Conroy stated.

"The major areas that we are applying for ... range from infrastructure protection, mass prophylactics programs, mass surge capacities for meters, mass casualties programs, and mass care and shelter."

Newsom described regional disaster preparedness planning as long overdue.

"This is a first for us," noted Newsom.

"It's an important discipline - regionalism - and quite frankly it's probably long overdue.

"In October we began a process that was unique in the State's history and sadly unique in this country's history.

"That was the first regional operation plan ever to be implemented.

"Ten different counties are involved in this application process (and) eleven different cities.

"There were ... some 40 meetings in a 30-day period of time."

Other applicants include 34 other American cities and regions.

"Yes we recognize $333.2 million is roughly half of all the homeland security dollars -- $765 million that the administration is putting up, but that shouldn't however negate our desire to be honest and forthright with the Federal government about what is actually needed," added Newsom.

Disasters don't recognize city boundaries, San Jose Mayor Gonzales pointed out.

"The quickness, the nimbleness of this region's response everyone should be congratulated," Gonzales added.

"The end result we believe is an application that is solid, that should be seriously considered at the Federal level and I think it will be.

"This region is important for many, many reasons. It's a port area (with) both the Oakland and San Francisco ports ... and the San Jose Airport which ships out about $29 million in exports.

"We have to recognize that we have tremendous infrastructures here on the West Coast to protect, to secure, and to make sure that our residents and our neighbors are safe from either a natural disaster or a manmade disaster."

Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente recalled the spirit of regional cooperation show in the 1906 earthquake.

"After the 1906 earthquake when San Francisco was devastated Oakland opened her arms to a lot of people in San Francisco and that cooperation is still alive today with this regional cooperation," stated De Le Fuente.

"It is our responsibility to make sure we use every possible avenue to make sure we protect our citizens."

The Federal Department of Homeland Security is scheduled to release the results of the grant applications in June.

The application consists of 12 investment initiatives:

Expanded Regional Collaboration: $11.6 million. Possible projects include creating a Regional Planning Coordination Center.

Training and Exercise Sustainability: $31.5 million. Possible projects include establishing a Regional Training Center; standardizing performance criteria for specialized teams and equipment; increasing training and exercises for first responders.

CBRNE (Chemical, Biological, Radiological, Nuclear, Explosive) Detection and Response: $26.3 million Possible projects include establishing region-wide electronic tracking system for reporting of biological diseases; develop regional mass fatality plan.

Medical Surge: $25.2 million. Possible projects include development of a Regional Medical Surge Plan; credentialing system for medical personnel.

Infrastructure Protection: $50.1 million. Possible projects include enhancing security at the Golden Gate Bridge, BART Transbay tube, Hetch Hetchy, ports, public utility sites, mass transit systems such as MUNI, implementing the Buffer Zone Protection Program, and communication facilities.

Mass Prophylaxis: $26.3 million. Possible projects include development of standardized protocols for distribution sites and personnel; purchase of supply kits to support distribution.

Interoperable Communications: $107.4 million. Possible projects include establishing a Bay Area-wide microwave backbone and gateway interoperability system, improving communication transmission facilities such as Twin Peaks.

Information Sharing: $16.6 million. Possible projects include expanding Terrorism Early Warning Groups in the Bay Area.

Public Information and Warning: $7.1 million. Possible projects include establishing a policy framework including Common Alerting Protocols; Purchase technology to support warning systems.

Mass Care: $12.1 million. Possible projects include creating a regional system for recruiting, training and deploying volunteers; equipment such as cots and blankets.

Citizen Preparedness and Participation: $10.7 million. Possible projects include region-wide public education campaign.

Emergency Operations and Citizen Protection: $7.5 million. Possible projects include improving technology and equipment at emergency operations centers throughout the region.




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