Despite the loss of 42 lives, a billion dollars of damage, loss of a major transportation route, and temporary loss of City Hall, the City of Oakland is showing signs of a strong recovery. This final chapter will highlight progress made since the Loma Prieta Earthquake.
All City Departments have satisfactorily relocated their operations and are functioning at levels very near pre earthquake standards.
The City has designed a state-of-the-art program in Neighborhood Preparedness and has begun training Oakland citizens to care for themselves in the event of another major disaster.
Departments such as Fire, Police, and Public works are enhancing their preparedness capabilities with improved equipment and training. On-site management will be improved with the addition in both departments of mobile command posts. In the future, the City's response will be coordinated through an improved EOC.
As has been pointed out, in many case studies of disasters, communication remains a critical asset in emergency management and an ongoing problem in emergency response. Oakland had communications equipment which was insufficient to meet the demand. Future communications will be greatly improved by the purchase of an 800 mhz radio system which will allow all City departments to communicate directly with each other.
There is a need to make the City's Emergency plan more operational. Operations manuals are being developed by the Emergency Services Division in coordination with the appropriate departments to supplement the existing Multi Hazard Functional Disaster Plan.
There is an ongoing need for more trained shelter managers and better support to Red Cross operations from both the City and the School district. Coordination in this area is now being managed by a multiple agency committee which is addressing the entire issue of mass care and shelter. Additionally, the Office of Parks and Recreation has identified employees who will receive training as shelter managers.
There was a great need for an effective system to register and assign volunteer resources at both the Red Cross and the City of Oakland. The Red Cross has received donations of equipment and software from a computer systems company which will help them to establish a volunteer resources database. This database will improve the registering and tracking of volunteers. Emergency Services is working with the Office of Personnel Resource Management to develop an effective system to register and assign volunteer resources to City needs in the aftermath of a disaster.
The City's Multi Hazard Functional Disaster Plan is being reviewed by Emergency Services and other departments. It will be edited and appendices added based on the experience of the Loma Prieta earthquake. The plan will be exercised in both tabletop and functional emergency drills scheduled for 1991.
The City more clearly recognizes that response efforts involve relatively short period of time, while the recovery phase of a disaster is much longer. The costs associated with rebuilding are also greater than those of the response. Accordingly, the City's accent will be on developing a Recovery Plan. One initial step (already underway) in this planning effort is the development of a FEMA Claims Reimbursement Handbook that will be distributed to all City employees. All associated forms will be included as well as training in their use.
The lessons Oakland learned, through the experience of a major earthquake, are being applied to current planning and preparations for future events.