NORTH COUNTY — On Tuesday, Mar. 17 the Paso Robles City Council unanimously voted to ratify a state of emergency declaration made by City Manager Tom Frutchey. In a joint public meeting with the City’s Disaster Council, all members voted to approve the resolution that provides access to resources for the City.
“In speaking with the Mayor of Morro Bay who is involved in the medical industry, he says, ‘We’ve all been exposed, we just don’t know it yet,’” Mayor Steve Martin said. “So it’s important that we maintain the proper precautions to make sure that we can help blunt the spread of this virus.”
The declaration of a state of emergency is a tool used by local, state, and federal governments to address safety issues facing the public and an area’s infrastructure. The declaration frees up money from disaster relief funds that have been set aside in case of an emergency. The action also helps the City to get reimbursed from the state and federal governments from funds used during an emergency. It also reduces constraints for purchasing and leasing items.”
“Under the municipal code, we are required to get written competitive bids for certain types of purchasing,” Frutchey said. “We don’t have the time in certain situations in an emergency to go through that written bid process. Certainly, we will continue to work to ensure that everything we purchase is on the most cost-effective purchase possible.”
During a time of uncertainty, communication are key to providing services in a timely matter. Declaring an emergency ensures that all emergency medical services (EMS) and City staff are operating from the same playbook. This is accomplished by converting all operations under the Incident Command System (ISC), which is lead by the city manager, who assumes the role of Director of Emergency Services. All EMS, such as firefighters, Paramedics, and Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), must undergo ICS training that establishes protocol on how to deal with specific emergencies.
“The emergency declaration has many benefits,” Frutchey said. “First, it converts our operations to the Incident Command System, ICS, which is necessary for us to work seamlessly with other jurisdictions. Second, it authorizes our emergency operations center to activate at the required levels.”
The Disaster Council was established to oversee and coordinate disaster preparedness measures in the City. The council is comprised of the mayor, who acts as chair, the city manager, assistant city manager, and the chiefs of the Emergency Services Department.
According to Paso Robles bylaws established in 2019, the Disaster Council is empowered to develop and recommend actions for adoption by the City Council, including Emergency and Mutual Aid Plans and Agreements for the City.