Fong introduces bill to enhance preparedness

Fong introduces bill to enhance preparednessSACRAMENTO — Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County) introduced Assembly Bill 2428 to help protect California’s most vulnerable populations during natural disasters and improve local emergency preparedness plans. This measure will require the Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) to work with representatives from access and functional needs populations when updating the State Emergency Plan. Additionally, it requires that CalOES annually develop and disseminate lessons learned from past natural disasters to cities and counties.

Recent natural disasters have revealed multiple gaps in California’s ability to respond to emergencies. The earthquakes in Ridgecrest demonstrate the need for better preparation for vulnerable populations and for improved communication between state and local agencies.

“California must always seek to improve and innovate its preparation for natural disasters,” said Assemblyman Vince Fong. “We have an obligation to ensure that the needs of all people, including the most vulnerable, are considered when preparing for emergencies. The Ridgecrest earthquakes that caused billions of dollars in damage must be learned from.”

During natural disasters, vulnerable groups—individuals with disabilities, pregnant women, children, elderly persons, prisoners, certain members of ethnic minorities, people with language barriers, and the impoverished—face particular obstacles to being safe. AB 2428 ensures that California will better incorporate the needs of these vulnerable populations in the development of its emergency preparedness plan.

Currently, CalOES is not required to review or provide feedback to local communities that want to improve their own emergency preparedness plans. This hinders the ability of cities and counties to best adapt to recent natural disasters. AB 2428 helps local communities receive recommendations from CalOES on best practices and lessons learned from past natural disasters.

AB 2428 will be heard in the Assembly Government Organization Committee in the coming weeks.

Story First Published: 2020-03-06