Watch Orange County Fire Authority Chief Brian Fennessy on Leadership: “Building a Mission-Driven Culture”

One of the accomplishments I’m most proud of as a public official is advocating as a member of the board of directors of the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) for the selection of Brian Fennessy as our new Fire Chief.

OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy is one of the nation’s most respected leaders in the crucial field of emergency management.

Recently, Fire Chief Fennessy was invited by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to present his perspective on emergency management leadership to a national audience.

In his talk, titled “Building a Mission-Driven Culture,” Chief Fennessy shares the values of a mission-driven culture and the importance of intent-based leadership in emergency management.

Chief Fennessy also discusses his path to leadership and why he firmly believes that a mission-driven culture is critical to organizational success in times of chaos and during daily operations.

All of us involved in emergency response and management — first responders, public officials, citizen volunteers — will benefit from the wisdom and experience of OCFA Chief Brian Fennessy in this extremely timely talk.

Watch Chief Fennessy’s FEMA PrepTalk “Building a Mission-Driven Culture” here:

Wildfire Preparedness Week: Wildfire is Coming . . . Are You Ready?

As CAL FIRE, reminds us, Wildfire is coming . . . Are you ready?

This is Wildfire Preparedness Week.

Each year California highlights the importance of wildfire prevention and preparedness by declaring the first full week of May as “Wildfire Preparedness Week.”

This year during the week of May 5-11, CAL FIRE, Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) and fire departments across the state will remind residents of the dangers posed by wildfires and the simple steps that should be followed to prepare for and prevent them.

Despite getting some much-needed rain this winter, we’re expecting another dangerous fire season.

You can learn more about wildfire prevention at OCFA’s press conference on Tuesday, May 7, 2019, at 10:00 a.m. at Station 41, located at Fullerton Airport.  For more information, contact OCFA PIO at 714-357-7782.

One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire!

Approximately 95 percent of all wildfires are sparked by the activity of people, which means that almost all wildfires are preventable.

One of the leading causes of wildfires is outdoor powered equipment. Use powered equipment before 10 a.m. and never on hot and windy days. When clearing dead or dying grass don’t use a lawn mower or weed trimmer with a metal blade.

Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained with nothing dragging on the ground like trailer chains. All residents and vacationers need to be extra cautious outdoors because one less spark means one less wildfire.

Learn more by clicking here

Ready, Set, Go! 

With fire activity already above average, Californians should remember “Ready, Set, Go!

Ready: Protect your home ahead of time by taking steps to mitigate wildfire risk.

Set: Prepare for an emergency by assembling a bag of important items that you would need in the event of emergency. This includes clothes, medication and other personal items. Develop a family emergency plan that details escape routes and reunification plans.

Go: Leave early in the event of an emergency. Avoid traffic congestion and other complications by evacuating at the earliest opportunity. In the event of evacuation, all City of Irvine emergency shelters will have options available for pets.

Learn more by clicking here.

Be Prepared and Take Action!

As climate changes, and as home-building expands ever closer to more areas subject to wildfire, the danger to our lives and property increases.

Watch an OCFA video on wildfire preparedness by clicking here.

Please learn what you should do to help our firefighters keep your family safe!

 

Learn How to Keep Your Family and Your Community Ready for Wildfires!

Do you know how to protect against wildfire?  Are you prepared for an emergency?

On Monday, November 5, 2018, you can learn how to keep yourself, your family, and your community safe at a free informational meeting on wildfire preparedness from 6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) Fire Station 27, located at 12400 Portola Springs, Irvine CA 92618.

A plane drops fire retardant in the Cleveland National Forest behind homes along Crystal Ridge Court in Lake Elsinore as the Holy fire burned near homes on Wednesday afternoon, August 8, 2018. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)

The outreach focuses on the Ready, Set, Go strategy championed by OCFA and will include a Question and Answer Session.

The wildfire outreach campaign emphasizes these key messages:

Ready: Protect your home ahead of time by taking steps to mitigate wildfire risk.

Set: Prepare for an emergency by assembling a bag of important items that you would need in the event of emergency. This includes clothes, medication and other personal items. Develop a family emergency plan that details escape routes and reunification plans.

Go: Leave early in the event of an emergency. Avoid traffic congestion and other complications by evacuating at the earliest opportunity. In the event of evacuation, all City of Irvine emergency shelters will have options available for pets.

Irvine neighborhoods most at risk of wildfire include Turtle Rock, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill, Orchard Hills and Portola Springs.

Irvine residents are further encouraged to sign up to receive emergency notifications at AlertOC.org.

Visit cityofirvine.org or ocfa.org/rsg for more information on wildfire preparedness.

You can visit the Facebook event page here.

Ready, Set, Go: Irvine Police and Orange County Fire Authority Team Up to Educate Irvine Residents on Wildfire Threat

As the smoke from the Holy Jim Fire rises like a nuclear blast high above Saddleback Mountain’s Santiago Peak, looking up should be all that is needed to remind Irvine residents of the very real threat that wildfires present to our community.

That’s why the newly announced “Ready, Set, Go” Wildfire Preparedness Program recently launched by the Irvine Police Department and the Orange County Fire Authority could not be more timely.

The Irvine Police Department’s Office of Emergency Management is partnering with the Orange County Fire Authority (OCFA) on a Wildfire Preparedness campaign that kicked off Tuesday. The outreach focuses on the “Ready, Set, Go” strategy championed by OCFA.

Irvine neighborhoods that are most at risk of wildfire will be targeted, including Turtle Rock, Shady Canyon, Quail Hill, Orchard Hills and Portola Springs.

Residents will notice banners carrying the “Ready, Set, Go” message, and those who live in at-risk areas will receive postcards in the mail offering tips on how to prepare for wildfire. The Irvine Police Department and OCFA will also utilize social media to spread the word.

The campaign emphasizes these key messages:

Ready: Protect your home ahead of time by taking steps to mitigate wildfire risk.

Set: Prepare for an emergency by assembling a bag of important items that you would need in the event of emergency. This includes clothes, medication and other personal items. Develop a family emergency plan that details escape routes and reunification plans.

Go: Leave early in the event of an emergency. Avoid traffic congestion and other complications by evacuating at the earliest opportunity. In the event of evacuation, all City of Irvine emergency shelters will have options available for pets.

Irvine residents are further encouraged to sign up to receive emergency notifications at AlertOC.org.

The campaign continues through October 31. Visit cityofirvine.org or ocfa.org/rsg for more information on wildfire preparedness.

Irvine’s Innovative iWild Program Helps Humans and Wildlife Coexist

mountain lion.01

When my cousins Geoff and Helaine moved to Irvine last year from Connecticut, they were a bit unnerved when they realized that coyotes were frequent visitors to their neighborhood in Portola Springs.  Actually, “visitors” is the wrong word.  Wild animals – such as coyotes, as well as mountain lions, bobcats, raccoons, opossums, skunks and rattlesnakes – are native to this part of the world. Long before the City of Irvine was founded, the Irvine Valley was their home. Many migrating birds also have long made Irvine a prime stop on their journeys. We are the newcomers here, not them.

We urban humans are the ones who have encroached on these animals’ natural habitat, and we need to learn to live with the wildlife in our environment.

Irvine’s Innovative iWild Program Helps Humans and Wildlife Coexist

That’s the idea behind the new iWild program developed by the Irvine Police Department.

Introduced this past March, iWild is an innovative, year-round program designed to increase community awareness and understanding of wildlife in Irvine.

The ultimate goal of the program is to decrease human-wildlife conflict.

Based on a Neighborhood Watch model, the iWild program works with community members to form teams to monitor and report on wildlife activity in their neighborhoods. The teams are trained by Irvine Animal Control Officers, under the leadership of Animal Services Supervisor Kimberly Cherney.

Why iWILD?

  • Calls about wildlife activity are common in the city.
  • There are some misconceptions about wildlife activity that can be dispelled through education.
  • No one knows your neighborhood, and what goes on there, better than you do.
  • Wildlife conflicts can be traumatic and emotional for those who have lost pets.
  • Working cooperatively, neighborhoods and Animal Services can reduce wildlife conflicts in our communities.
  • Equipped with the right information and tools, we can prevent and resolve most wildlife conflicts.

Irvine’s terrain and wildlife habitat vary from neighborhood to neighborhood.  By forming neighborhood-specific teams, the iWild program encourages team members to address the specific wildlife issues they are facing in their neighborhoods.

While Animal Control Officers will remain available to respond to truly dangerous or unusual wildlife activity, they will be less likely to be summoned to deal with the normal activities of Irvine’s wildlife.

It is hoped that working together and armed with the right information, iWild teams and Irvine Animal Control can reduce human-wildlife conflicts in our communities so that both humans and wildlife benefit.

To learn more about the iWild program, or to get involved with an iWild team in your neighborhood, contact Animal Services Supervisor Kimberly Cherney at 949-724-7091 or kcherney@cityofirvine.org.

Other excellent resources for living with wildlife in Orange County are:

City of Irvine Animal Services

City of Irvine Coyote Information

City of Irvine “Got a Minute?” Coyote Information Video

City of Irvine Legal Information about Animals

City of Irvine Information about Bird Nests and Fledglings

City of Irvine Animal Services Brochures (on Coyotes, Birds, Bats, Snakes, Ducks, Mountain Lions, Raccoons, Opossums, Ducks and more).

Orange County Animal Care Wildlife Information (including brochures on Bats, Coyotes, Mountain Lions, Opossums, Raccoons, Rattlesnakes, Skunks, Snakes, and Urban Ducks).