Given the past couple of weeks, I don’t think there’s anyone in this county who doesn’t swell with pride for our courageous firefighters who go in harm’s way to protect us.
I appreciate John Peschong’s tribute to our emergency responders (“Local responders are up to task,” Aug. 23), but he does them an injustice by asserting they’re adequately prepared for “any natural or man-made situation.”
Opinions like that can actually interfere with emergency preparedness by depriving responders of training and equipment they need.
Peschong — not San Luis Obispo Mayor Jan Marx, as he claims — is out of touch regarding our readiness to deal with oil train derailments, explosions and fires that seem to be occurring on a monthly basis.
To quote the California Office of Emergency Services’ “Gap Analysis for Rail,” “[O]f particular concern to this Analysis is the lack of qualified Haz-Mat Teams where trains travel through rural California.
“It is in these areas that the State must focus on enhancing its emergency hazardous materials response capabilities, including: response times, response equipment, responder training and the commitment of additional resources.”
The Cal OES report singles out areas, specifically San Luis Obispo, as having only “non-certified Haz-Mat Teams,” which do not meet required “levels and standards for training and equipment.”