Viewpoint - July 20, 2011

Letter: A good stimulus for emergency response

I am grateful to the Almanac for its thorough coverage of recent emergency preparedness activities in Portola Valley.

The news articles and opinion editorial in the July 13 edition provide an excellent stimulus for residents living in the Woodside Fire Protection District to think anew about our emergency response capabilities.

The Almanac may have been a bit gentle with us. The fragile safety net we have in place consists of an all-volunteer nonprofit organization, an independent fire district, large pockets of unincorporated county, two municipalities, and law enforcement from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Department. This makes our situation very different from a city such as Menlo Park, where the structure of public services makes a streamlined emergency response to disaster more likely.

There has not been much conversation in recent years among the agencies west of Interstate 280 to ensure that our disparate resources are efficiently deployed and that emergency response will be well coordinated and effective. Your commentary this past week provides a valuable reminder of the work we have to do.

Steve Toben, Member, Portola Valley Town Council


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