POLICE Magazine

DEC 2018

Magazine for police and law enforcement

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10 POLICE DECEMBER 2018 B eginning on Oct. 8, 2017, multiple wildfires swept through Sonoma, Napa, and Lake Counties in Northern California. e fires were 100% contained in the first week of November, but not before 44 people lost their lives, more than 114,000 acres of land had burned, and 5,300+ homes were destroyed, along with a current damage estimate of $9 billion in insurance claims. e disaster is now recognized as the costliest group of wildfires in U.S. history in terms of insured loss, as of this writing. As the fleet manager for the County of Sonoma, I am part of a team of 23 that comprises the Fleet Operations Division of the General Services Department, which includes law en- forcement vehicles. Much of what we experienced last year would apply to other disasters as well. With that in mind, here are a few lessons my fleet operation learned during and after the fires. CELLULAR COMMUNICATIONS CAN BE A CHALLENGE It is easy to take for granted the reliable cellular service you have prior to an emergency. A total of 77 cellular sites were destroyed or damaged by the fires, which created commu- nication problems during the first week until repairs and HOW TO MANAGE YOUR FLEET DURING A DISASTER Making sure vehicles are available to respond to calls during an event like a wildfire taxes resources and requires adjusting procedures in ways you might not have considered. How To... DAVID WORTHINGTON PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES Law enforcement vehicles suffer repeated damage during disasters, and need many replacement parts to remain operational.

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