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Goleta City Council Gets Briefed on Preparedness for Winter Storms, Emergency Situations

The Goleta City Council got an update Tuesday on the city's preparedness ahead of anticipated winter storms and flooding.

Parks and Recreation Manager JoAnne Plummer detailed plans to reduce the threat to life, safety, and potential flood damage to properties.

“Locally, we are continuing our efforts to be ready in case of a storm or any other issues,” Plummer said. “Specifically this year, we are preparing our impacts to historic areas of flooding — and we also aware of potential impacts related from the recent Whittier Fire.”

Plummer said there was particular concern for flooding at the Santa Barbara Airport, the Fairview and Hollister intersection, near the intersection of Fairview Avenue and Calle Real, and Old Town Goleta.

Following the Whittier Fire — which burned in the Santa Ynez Mountains between the coastal area west of Goleta on the south, and Lake Cachuma on the north — there are concerns about Highway 154 and Highway 101 closures, and water quality impacts from runoff into Lake Cachuma.

Goleta’s 2017-2018 budget for emergency response services is $53,000, and it includes emergency notifications and the Community Emergency Response Team. The budget does not include personnel, according to city spokeswoman Valerie Kushnerov.

Goleta’s storm preparedness efforts include inspecting city bridges, culverts and cleaning out areas that could be affected by storm events; removing debris; inspecting trees; inventorying emergency response resources; drainage improvement projects; establishing emergency contracts and sandbag distribution centers; and encouraging residents to register for emergency notifications. 

If Goleta experiences significant storm events, Plummer said, it is likely city staff would coordinate with the County of Santa Barbara Office of Emergency Management to determine the response and, if necessary, Goleta could activate the city Emergency Operations Center.

If the incident is a storm, the National Weather Service and the Santa Barbara County Flood Control District monitor weather systems, storm rain gauges and potential impact.

The county Office of Emergency Management works with stakeholders to discuss pre-deployment of resources, possible evacuation warnings or orders, highway closures, and response action. 

State and federal funding may be available in the case of a major incident or if the event is declared a disaster, Plummer said.

All city employees are scheduled to be trained in first aid and CPR next year, and the city plans to install automated external defibrillators at City Hall. 

“To improve disaster preparedness, we need to increase the effectiveness of disaster response, minimize the duplication of resources and provide more efficient services to those affected by disasters," Goleta management assistant Liliana Encinas said. "It is crucial that Goleta fosters these collaborative efforts, and continues to serve as a partner.” 

Plummer encourages Goleta residents to register for emergency alerts through the city.

Click here for Goleta email notifications in English and for text message alerts, send “Goleta Emergency” to 468311. 

To receive text message alerts in Spanish, send “Goleta Spanish” to 468311, and click here for sign up for emails in Spanish.

To register for alerts via landline or cell phone, call 805.961.7508 or email [email protected] — note if you would like to receive a phone call, text or both, and the preferred language. 

To sign up for alerts from the County of Santa Barbara, visit AwareandPrepare.org.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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