Jan 30, 2013 (The Tribune (San Luis Obispo - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The Sheriff's Office has established a task force to coordinate efforts by various groups -- public and private -- throughout the county to improve public safety in case of natural disasters.
"You can never be too prepared," Sheriff Ian Parkinson said at a Wednesday morning press conference. He said he wants to make San Luis Obispo County the best prepared in the nation.
The $75,000 seed money for the endeavor was provided by PG&E, which, along with other groups, also had representatives at the press conference.
"We're trying to be proactive," said Jim Brabeck of the Sheriff's Advisory Foundation. "When you have an emergency, you don't exchange business cards at that time."
Parkinson and others were short on details about exactly how the task force would work. The seed money will be used in part to spell that out.
The point Parkinson and others made is that there are numerous solid efforts to ensure safety in the event of a fire, earthquake, flood or other disaster in this county, which has experienced them all.
But there are gaps in communication and coordination, he said. The task force will close them, he said.
Parkinson said he was motivated in part by a 2011 grand jury report that said the county "is in commendable shape for emergency readiness," but had room for improvement.
Among the areas that needed work were communication and integration among agencies and improved public outreach, the sheriff said.
In addition to various private groups and the county, the task force will include representatives from each of the county's seven incorporated cities.
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