California recently became the 40th state to join the national Silver Jackets disaster coordination program. The program is designed to improve coordination, collaboration and communication among disaster-response agencies at all levels of government before a disaster strikes to hasten recovery.
The California Department of Water Resources and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District marked the beginning of California’s Silver Jackets program in a signing ceremony at the state-federal flood operations center in Sacramento on Nov. 4.
“One in five Californians lives in a flood plain,” said Gary Bardini, Deputy Director of Integrated Water Management, California Department of Water Resources, “so there is risk throughout the state. The state has been earnestly trying to work better on our own to respond to flood events and to recover. Silver Jackets is really what expresses the cooperation, the resourcefulness of agencies working together to promote recovery after a crisis occurs.”
A federal program, Silver Jackets is implemented by its participating states, which organize their team of cooperating agencies to suit their needs. The Department of Water Resources will be the lead coordinating agency for the state of California. Other participating agencies include the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Weather Service, California Office of Emergency Services, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Central Valley Flood Protection Board.
“Silver Jackets is about each state and other agencies starting discussions before disasters, building relationships, and improving communication, coordination, collaboration so that we can more effectively respond in an emergency, and help recover faster afterward,” said Sacramento District Deputy Commander Lt. Col. Braden LeMaster.
The signing also marked the beginning of the second annual California Flood Preparedness Week, Nov. 4-9. Created to improve awareness of flood risk and community preparedness for flood emergencies, the week featured community events throughout the state, including the unveiling of high water mark signs in Sacramento and Roseville. For more on California flood preparedness, go to www.water.ca.gov/floodsafe/ca-flood-preparedness/fpw_home.cfm.