Marin, Calif., to Host Statewide Search-and-Rescue Event in October

(TNS) - Hundreds of rescue specialists will visit West Marin this fall for an annual statewide training exercise and conference.

The search-and-rescue exercise, known as SAREX, will be held at Walker Creek Ranch from Oct. 4 to 6. The event will be the first SAREX to take place in Marin, said Mike St. John, leader of the Marin County sheriff’s SAR Unit.

St. John said he expects 350 to 400 rescuers from around the state to participate in this year’s program. Last year, the event was held at Lake Tahoe Community College in El Dorado County.

North Dakota Eighth-Graders Develop First Responder Solution

Northern Cass Middle School in Hunter, North Dakota is located about 30 miles northwest of Fargo and the student body of about 650 students is made up of many rural towns. Unfortunately, for the school and townspeople, the closest first responders about a 30- to 45-minute drive away.

So the school’s eighth-grade class decided that was the best choice as a problem they could solve for the Samsung Solve for Tomorrow national Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) contest. They developed an app, the Emergency Video Assistance (EVA) that connects the caller with first responders during their lengthy drive, providing video and other information for real-time situational awareness.

Kern County, Calif., First Responders Add Critical 911 Communications

Situational awareness is critical for a police officer, and when it comes to confronting a subject suffering from a mental illness or other behavioral issues, knowledge of the subject’s state of mind could help the officer de-escalate a possibly explosive situation.

That’s what Kern County has provided for its law enforcement officers and first responders with the deployment of Smart911’s enhanced profiles that provide critical information on a subject’s mental health, addiction, and other issues that might aid the responder’s situational awareness.

Will Rebuilding After a Disaster Come to an End?

It is the natural American reaction to negative events — We will be back, bigger and better!" Maybe not ...

See this Governing magazine article Why Rebuilding 'Bigger and Better' After Disasters Is a Mistake. It is a great article that touches on many issues that are going to impact people's ability to execute on their desire to "be back."

The first and foremost issue is the increasing frequency, severity and cost of disasters of all types. Severe weather is in a position of ascendency. All extremes are in play, flooding and drought; hurricanes and tornadoes; rainstorms and wildfires; extreme heat and extreme cold — go figure.

Los Angeles' Earthquake Early Warning System Could Save Lives, but What About the Rest of California?

(TNS) - With considerable fanfare, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti started the year by trumpeting a cellphone app that will instantly notify users in Los Angeles County when an earthquake of 5.0 or bigger begins to hit.

The pilot program, officially unveiled Jan. 3, can provide crucial seconds — even dozens of seconds — for people to duck and cover or otherwise take potentially lifesaving actions.

Dubbed ShakeAlertLA, it’s the first earthquake early warning system of its type in the country.

Many of the Dead in Camp Fire Were Disabled. Could They Have Been Saved?

(TNS) — Sixty-three-year-old Ernest Foss had swollen legs and couldn’t walk. Vinnie Carota, 65, was missing a leg and didn’t have a car. Evelyn Cline, 83, had a car but struggled to get in it without help.

Dorothy Herrera, 93, had onset dementia and her husband Louis, 86, couldn’t drive anymore. And 78-year-old John Digby was just feeling sick the morning of the Camp Fire when he refused a neighbor’s offer to drive him to safety.

Despite Repeated California Fires and Other Disasters, Emergency Evacuations Keep Falling Short

(TNS) - Leigh Bailey, 54, was awakened not by her phone, warning her about an incoming fire that would soon destroy her town, but by a neighbor pounding on her door.

Bailey had no idea how bad the fire was about to become. So she went back inside around 9:15 a.m., had a cup of tea and ate some coffee cake and slowly packed some clothes and her dog and cat before heading out of her home in Magalia, just north of Paradise.

California's Camp Fire Becomes The Deadliest Wildfire In State History

Fire investigators in Northern California say they found the human remains of 6 more individuals, bringing the death toll to at least 48 people who have died in the wildfire that burned through the town of Paradise with shocking speed, making the Camp Fire the deadliest wildfire in state history.

Fire crews are working to fight that blaze, along with another large wildfire in Southern California, where at least two deaths have been reported.

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