Following some of the largest fire and mudslide events in California history, the California Fire Chiefs Association is urging Governor Jerry Brown and state lawmakers to provide an additional $100 million in state funds for pre-deployment of staffing, apparatus, and equipment before extreme weather events.
“We commend the governor’s commitment today of $25 million of Cap and Trade funding to fund additional fire engines for the mutual aid system, and we look forward to working with state lawmakers on a larger investment to increase preparedness, improve communication, and fund public safety personnel deployed to disaster-stricken areas,” said Mark Hartwig, president of the California Fire Chiefs Association, in a release.
According to the coalition, Ventura County effectively used state funding to up-staff and pre-position 24 additional fire engines in anticipation of the wind event prior to the Thomas Fire. In addition, local government resources from around California were pre-deployed in Montecito and performed a number of successful swiftwater rescues.
In its letter to Governor Brown and the Legislature, the local fire agency coalition urged $100 million in increased funding to:
- Purchase fire, rescue, HAZMAT, and EMS equipment for distribution from the Office of Emergency Services to local agencies in the Mutual Aid System
- Modernize the aging Mutual Aid System to facilitate ordering, logistical support, and command and control functions at local public safety communications centers
- Fund pre-positioning of all-hazard resources in advance of predicted extreme weather events
- Fund a geo-based opt-out disaster notification system to alert people in the path of approaching or anticipated life-threatening events.