County Fire takes public input to better prepare for disasters, grant funding

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Kern County Fire Department heard from the public Thursday on how they can better prepare for emergencies as a way to complete a required plan need to receive grant money.

County Fire depends on grant money to keep operations up.

This year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, requires a THIRA plan. THIRA stands for Threat and Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment. County Fire must have that plan to be eligible for federal grants.

This week, first responders from all sectors spent hours going over Kern’s plan with consultant Randy Brawley.

Throughout the week they looked at their strengths.

“They talked about their operational communications. When they come up on the net they can quickly bring everybody together,” Brawley said. “The hazard mitigation planning was, we had very few capability gaps in mitigation programs.” 

They also looked at places where they saw gaps.

“Some of them were systematic things and a lot of it came down to timing,” Brawley said. “The other one was languages. There’s been emerging languages beyond Spanish that have emerged in Kern county and so we know to expand those. They would also like to improve some hazard response”

The week wrapped up with an open mic to the public.

“I know as a first responder what we need to be doing, but I may be missing something,” KCFD Chief Brian Marshall said. “And the public, they’re out in their communities everyday and they are going to be able to provide us the input to this plan so we, in effect, cover all of its bases.”

For Bakersfield resident Emmanuel Limaco, dry vegetation around the bluffs on Panorama Drive in Bakersfield and flooding in rural areas like Arvin, were of concern.

“I think it did go well,” Limaco said. “I’m just hoping to see some good results in the coming years.”

You can give input by emailing THIRA@kerncountyfire.org.

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