In a disaster such as a flood or earthquake, most people instinctively turn to government to handle the situation.
But the government isn't the only resource that rushes in to help: church groups, nongovernment agencies such as the Red Cross and food banks, community groups, local industries and spontaneous volunteers pitch in as well.
Stanislaus County is resurrecting and restructuring its Disaster Council to make sure all those efforts are coordinated and used efficiently.
The Disaster Council dates back to 1946, and has served various purposes, including civil defense efforts during the Cold War.
At today's Board of Supervisor's meeting, the council is expected to be revamped and combined with an Operational Area Council to bring the community together in planning for disasters.
"A lot of folks have a role in emergency management," said Gary Hinshaw, the county's assistant director of emergency services.
The new Disaster Council structure will make sure they all are following state and federal protocols for handling emergencies and have coordinated plans, so the response is rapid and smoothly integrated.
An example, Hinshaw said, is a disruption of gasoline and diesel fuel supplies. The county knows how many gallons of fuel it uses, but in an emergency, how does the county set priorities for schools, utilities, hospitals, ambulances, fire stations and law enforcement?
The Disaster Council, with county and city representatives, will create a planning framework for the different groups and agencies to use, and will approve the plans developed by the local groups.
The Operational Area Council will include participants from all the groups involved in emergency response, from utilities to radio stations, environmental groups to schools. They will formulate plans for their own group to be submitted to the Disaster Council.
"We want to bring all the good work under one umbrella," Hinshaw said.
The board will consider an ordinance this morning to redefine the role of the Disaster Council.
Supervisors also will:
The county meets the state-mandated 50 percent recycling rate, but the state Legislature is considering an increase, according to the county staff report.
The partnership that owns Diablo Grande filed a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy two weeks ago, and is working on a plan to restructure the development.
An additional 703 children would be covered with the added funds through the end of the fiscal year in June.
Bee staff writer Tim Moran can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2349.