The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors recognized the San Bernardino County Fire Department Office of Emergency Services on Monday, November 5th, for recently being awarded the California Emergency Services Association (CESA) Public Safety Gold Award for its Mass Care and Shelter, Shelter Operations Compound (SHOC) Program. The CESA Public Safety Gold Award is the top award for public safety emergency management programs in the State of California.
On Thursday, October 17, 2013, Mike Antonucci, OES Emergency Services Manager and Zack Mullennix, OES Emergency Services Officer, were on hand at this year’s CESA Conference in Santa Rosa to receive the award. The CESA State Awards Committee was greatly impressed by the program and called it “an innovative and ground breaking approach to sheltering large groups”.
San Bernardino County’s SHOC Program is a collaborative effort between County Fire, multiple County departments, cities within the Operational Area, the American Red Cross and other partner agencies.
The SHOC concept provides a one-stop full-service site for evacuees and shelter residents. It provides for a 3,500 bed human shelter, sheltering for small and large animals, services include medical services, behavioral health, and child care and donations management. The SHOC also contains a Local Assistance Center (LAC). As part of the planning process, the County conducted a table-top exercise in 2012 and a major functional exercise in June 2013. In support of the SHOC Program, OES also developed the Mass Care and Shelter Trailer Cache Project, which currently consists of fifteen 200 bed Trailer Caches deployed throughout the County with an additional 16 Trailer Caches being built over the next few years. When completed the County will have 31 Trailer Caches deployed.
The SHOC “concept” was used in a simpler form by the County in both the 2003 and 2007 wildfires. After considerable refinement, coordination and training, the SHOC program is being held up as a model for multi-jurisdictional mega-sheltering.