North Orinda Evacuation Exercise Update

Posted: 28-Jan-2019

Thank you to everyone that participated in this morning's North Orinda Evacuation Exercise. The drill was used to test several systems that we could use in an actual emergency:

  • The Contra Costa County Community Warning System (CWS) noted that 151 people from Sleepy Hollow, Dalewood, Sundown Terrace and Upper Miner Rd. signed up for the exercise. 130 residents registered with the CWS so they were actually contacted. The CWS sent 225 email notifications, made 275 phone calls and sent 225 text messages. Everyone that signed up for the exercise should have been notified by at least one of the contact methods. It took about three minutes from the time CWS was notified to send all phone, text and emails.
  • We used 20, County Sheriff's Office Search & Rescue volunteers to walk the neighborhoods and do a simulated door-to-door check. The SAR teams were able to check over 200 homes in about 45 minutes and communicate evacuation status back to the command post via an application being developed by our County Department of Information Technology.
  • The Evacuation Decision Support System being developed by MOFD was also tested this morning. This was the first full-cycle, field test of the tool. Beginning with a small fire detection, modeling potential fire spread, recommending evacuation areas and finally maintaining a common operating picture for fire, law enforcement and community warning was an amazing success. We look forward to future developments and implementation.
  • We again used community volunteers from both the Lamorinda Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the Lamorinda Radio Interest Group (LARIG). They deployed along with the professional first responders to provide traffic safety and help collect data along the evacuation routes.
  • Finally, the residents that participated in the exercise were able to safely exit North Orinda in record time. The evacuation notice was sent at 6:55 AM and vehicles started moving from the collection point at 7:09 AM. The first "pulse" of traffic was clear of the area by 7:18 AM. We estimate about 150 vehicles participated in the driving portion of the drill.  An actual evacuation will undoubtedly be more complex but he lessons learned this morning will help us refine procedures and continue to work with the community to help us all deal with the threat of wildfire.