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Post Date: Oct 19, 2015
OAKLAND, CA – Today, Mayor Libby Schaaf, Fire Chief Teresa Deloach
Reed, Police Chief Sean Whent, East Bay Regional Parks District General
Manager Robert Doyle, Ken Benson of the Oakland Firesafe Council, and
local community members gathered to commemorate the anniversary of
the Oakland-Berkeley Hills Firestorm, an event that remains one of the
worst fire disasters in our nation’s history.
The mayor shared her memories of the three-day firestorm and called on
Oaklanders to honor and remember its victims, which included Oakland
Fire Department Battalion Chief James Riley and Oakland Police Officer
“The anniversary of the firestorm is a time to pause, to honor and
remember all those who lost their lives on that tragic day,” said Schaaf.
“It’s also a reminder for all Oaklanders to plan and prepare.”
Speaking to preparedness efforts since the 1991 disaster, Mayor Schaaf
and Fire Chief Deloach Reed shared that the Oakland Fire Department’s
capability to maneuver through our hills neighborhoods has been
improved with the purchase of several specially designed fire
apparatus. Firefighters also receive wildland personal protective
clothing and annual training in the use of wildland related tools, safety
equipment, strategy and tactics, and fire behavior.
“We need everyone to help keep our Oakland hills fire-safe, especially
now when fire risk is high,” said Oakland Fire Chief Teresa Deloach Reed.
“A quick response is key. Our fire companies are ready, but we rely on our
residents to report concerns. If you see smoke, don’t hesitate to call 9-1-1
Chief Deloach Reed stressed vegetation management as a key prevention
method her department has undertaken. She noted that reducing fuels in
key areas can do much to prevent future fires and to mitigate the advance
of a fire should one occur. As part of a comprehensive vegetation
management program, OFD conducts about 26,000 public and private
property inspections annually in high fire-hazard areas to ensure all
properties are kept in a “fire-safe” manner. In the past year, the
department made significant progress in reducing fuels along major
roadways, large open spaces, city lots and park lands. OFD also conducts
extensive public education and outreach at homeowners’ association
meetings, emergency preparedness fairs, and other community meetings
and events to keep our residents and property owners informed of the
critical importance of fire prevention measures.
Mayor Schaaf also highlighted the importance of cooperation saying: “We
recognize that the threat of fire extends beyond our city borders, which is
why we partnered on fire prevention with neighboring cities, fire
departments and organizations like East Bay Regional Parks and
community partners such as the Oakland Firesafe Council, Hills
Emergency Forum, North Hills Community Association, to name a few.”
Learn more: Visit Oaklandnet.com to learn more about fire season do’s
and don’ts, subscribe to Red Flag Day alerts or sign up for disaster
response training taught by Communities of Oakland Respond to
Erica Terry Derryck