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San Benito
February 27, 2024

County partners with foundation to better prepare for disasters

The Camp Fire and other disasters nationally offered a reminder that the county needed to get its ducks in a row in the event of a major incident locally.
So on Tuesday, county supervisors formalized a relationship through the Office of Emergency Services with the Community Foundation for San Benito County for aid in the event of a potential disaster in the area.
Office of Emergency Services Manager Kevin O’Neil presented the item Tuesday and told the board such arrangements are common in other counties. He explained the main purpose of the agreement to supervisors.
“So that we don’t have to worry about figuring out how to work together, what each of us are going to do, in the event of a disaster,” O’Neil said. He said it allows the county to “hit the ground running” in its pursuit of help from nonprofits in the event of a disaster.
He noted how the county worked with the foundation after the early 2017 floods in the Lovers Lane area.
O’Neil was asked why the foundation is most appropriate and mentioned it’s the first of several expected agreements with nonprofits and other non-governmental organizations.
“The Community Foundation is kind of a clearing house,” he said.
O’Neil also noted how there’s a misconception about donating goods such as clothing or other items.
“That’s actually a bad thing,” he said, noting how monetary donations are the best route. “Counties have to contend with literally hundreds of tons of stuff.”
Supervisor Mark Medina had positive remarks as the board approved the item.
“I just want to commend you for the job you’re doing,” Medina said. “You’re being proactive rather than reactive.”
According to the agenda summary on the item: While the Office of Emergency Services coordinates the response to any and all types of hazards and threats, it lacks the ability to effectively accept and manage monetary donations from members of the public. The Community Foundation for San Benito County, however, is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization dedicated to granting monies to a variety of local causes and nonprofits. In the event of a disaster, the Community Foundation for San Benito County has the ability to receive monetary donations and distribute them to the causes and nonprofits that are the most appropriate to meet the needs of San Benito County residents throughout disaster response and recovery. Through this MOU, the parties are able build upon the already existing relationship and work together to ensure that disaster response is effective and appropriate.
In addition in a separate resolution: The Office of Emergency Services (OES) is seeking approval from your Board to apply for FY 2018 California Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), and Emergency Management Performance Grant (EMPG).