In a first for Santa Barbara, civilian volunteers will be allowed to help man the city’s Emergency Operation Center (EOC) during times of widespread and long-lasting disaster. The spate of fires in recent years demonstrated how the crescendo of information pouring into the central decision-making location can overwhelm EOC staff, who support all emergency crews out in the field. The need for extra trained personnel became obvious. Who better than Santa Barbara’s citizen volunteers? The 10 soon-to-be-graduates of the EOC Affiliated Volunteers program now fit that bill.
Also a part of the county/city Advanced Community Emergency Response Training (CERT), the 10 spent six months learning the organizational structure of the EOC, as well as the chain of command among and within vital city departments. When the need arises, they will help with phones, documentation, and other non-policy duties. Graduation is on Wednesday, at Fire Station 1.