Cal OES mobilizing emergency crews for storm response

In preparation for Wednesday's atmospheric river, California’s Office of Emergency Services is mobilizing crews around the state. The idea is to pre-position fire trucks and strike teams, so they’re ready to respond. Fremont Fire Station 8 where several firefighters are deployed as part of the strike crew.

These are extra resources for extra safety. And as the weather gets worse, crews will be keeping a close eye on the hills and canyons nearby. 

As the storm rolls in, the strike team at Fremont Fire is staged and ready to roll out. It’s part of a coordinated response through the Office of Emergency Services.

"It’s a good thing for us to get ahead of this right. So, instead of being reactionary, we’re progressive and setting up beforehand so when the calls for service do come in, we’re not overwhelmed. We can have the resources in place to mitigate the problems," says Battalion Chief Will Krings, the Strike Team Leader.

In Alameda County, those extra resources include five engines, a hand crew, a bulldozer and extra dispatchers. They are operated by the state for the duration of the storm, taking the pressure off local jurisdictions.

Their sole job is to monitor and respond to storm damage. 

"So we’re looking for downed trees affecting power lines, the potential for debris flow, or small isolated landslides and things of that nature," says Krings.

This kind of state OES storm response doesn’t happen often. In the past, crews have dealt with plenty of swift water, mudslides and rescues.

Neighboring counties are part of the state response too. And while most crews will handle emergencies close to home, they’ll travel if needed. 

"We are essentially a state resource right now, we can move to another operational area if they’re being impacted and everything is OK here," says Krings.

This OES deployment is set to last until 8 a.m. on Friday, though it can be extended.