Scenes from California for All CERT and Listos Preparedness Conference

Conference Puts the Spotlight on Emergency Preparedness

Earthquakes, floods, wildfires … disasters are a fact of life. So how can we help everyone get prepared for emergencies, especially vulnerable populations, such as seniors and people with disabilities?

That’s one of the topics of discussion at the California for All CERT and Listos Preparedness Conference, which got underway today in San Diego. Listos, which means “prepared” in Spanish, is the name of a grassroots disaster preparedness program tailored to meet the needs of Spanish-speaking communities.

The goal of the conference is to elevate emergency preparedness and community resiliency so all Californians can successfully weather emergencies.

“By the time an emergency occurs. It’s too late. We need to shift to the role of preparedness and resiliency,” San Diego Cal FIRE Unit Chief/San Diego County Fire Authority Chief Tony Mecham told a large crowd that filled a conference room to capacity.

Mecham and other speakers at the conference stressed that it takes a village to ensure safety during an emergency because first responders are going to be strained and stretched to deal with the most pressing issues.

San Diego Fire Chief Colin Stowell said he’s seen CERTS save the day on many occasions by stepping in to provide first aid before first responders arrive, or help with search and rescue and Red Cross operations to provide shelter and mental health support.

Partnership and Collaboration

SDG&E helped sponsor the conference, and partnered with California Volunteers, a unit within the Governor’s Office, to bring the event to San Diego.

Karen Baker, California’s Chief Service Officer for Governor Gavin Newsom, presented SDG&E with the Superior Partnership Award during today’s conference luncheon. Augie Ghio, our director of emergency management and aviation, accepted the award on behalf of our company.

Many of the CERTS that SDG&E partners with to enhance emergency preparedness were in attendance at the conference. Each year, SDG&E provides grants to CERTS to help them fund training activities and other needs.

Our President Scott Drury also spoke at the conference to extend his appreciation to local CERTS and our public safety partners.

“The work that you are all doing is literally improving lives and communities. That’s quite remarkable,” he said.

More than 600 people, including CERTS from 30 states, as well as Mexico, and Chile registered for the three-day conference, which continues through Saturday. Attendees are taking training classes and exchanging ideas with the goal of helping their communities better prepare and respond to emergencies.

Among the speakers at the event were representatives from the California Office of Emergency Services, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.