Report of Panoramic Hill Association Emergency Preparedness Committee

Report of Panoramic Hill Association Emergency Preparedness Committee*

Prepared by Dick White, 23 May 2011*

We report three new activities of the PHA Emergency Preparedness Committee, which relate to maps, drills, and the Berkeley above-ground emergency water supply system.

New Panoramic Hill map

Over a four-year period, we have created a new map of the Hill (attached) whose design has been tailored for emergency use.  Copies have been distributed to the Berkeley Fire Department for use in all its emergency vehicles.  New features of the maps are:

  • A three-dimensional character
  • Locating all the fire hydrants and their nearest house address on the map to help fire-fighters find them quickly.  It could also permit citizens using our handheld radios in an emergency to employ the hydrants as indicators of where they have found a problem (each hydrant has a unique letter on it, starting with A at the bottom of the Hill).
  • A table, provided by BFD Chief David Orth (now retired), of flow rates and other characteristics of the individual hydrants.
  • Several dwellings not included in City signage on the Hill have been added to speed response in an emergency.

Map of hydrants for Panoramic Hill(Click on image to get full size map.)

PHA residents partipcated in Oakland CORE Citywide Emergency Preparedness Drill

On April 30, 2011 four Hill residents joined a Citywide Oakland emergency preparedness drill sponsored by CORE.  Partipating as observers were Sarah Bade, Steve Chainey, Eric Choate, and Dick White.  Among our impressions were:

  • The neighborhood was extremely well organized, with maps for participants to follow when searching the neighborhood for problems, which had been posed in advance as indicated by notes on trees or structures (a white towel on the front door indicated no problems therein)
  • The use of handheld radios was exemplary (terse and clear reports using established protocols)
  • The use of several realistic “victims” – with moulage, obvious and less obvious injuries, and dramatic behavior — was very effective
  • They’re planning on having shorter drills (half-hour, focussed on one skill like radio use), more frequent (four or so per year) and possibly in the early evening. (DO YOU THINK THIS MIGHT BE SOMETHING TO TRY ON PANORAMIC?)

Berkeley Above-Ground Emergency Water Supply System Now Functional

BFD Chief David Orth (retired, but on recall to finish the following project) showed two of us (Steve Chainey, Dick White) the now-functioning Berkeley emergency water delivery system that could supply from the Bay, in case of emergenccy such as an earthquake, huge amounts of water to fight fires as far east as Oxford Street.  The equipment consists of:

  • Floating or submersible pumps that can be deployed in the water near Aquatic Park (or other locations such as even swimming pools)
  • Trucks that carry pumps that push the water uphill through foldable, flexibe hose that expands to twelve inches diameter when filled
  • Fittings that reduce the diameter of the exit stream from 12 inches to 4 or 5 inches for coupling to the standard intake piping on regular fire engines (the little guys) and trucks (the “hook-and-ladder” guys)
  • Auxiliary equipment such as a truck that picks up the hose when finished and deployable ramps that enable vehicles to go safely over the deployed hose

The figures below:  They have 12,000 feet of hose.  The flow rate is up to 6,000 gallons per minute.  The input pressure is 200 psi.  The hose has a secret weave buried in the polymetic body that keeps the hose from straightening out when pressurized (it could knock over a car if it did that!).

12 inch fitting for hose Folded 12 inch hose
Fitting reduces 12-inch diameter of hose to 4- or 5- inches for use by conventional fire engines and trucks Folded hose with 12-inch fittings
Photo of truck carrying hose with lift Storage box and location
Truck with crane that transports box with some system components Storage location with storage box unloaded

*  The Committee:  Dick White (Chair); Steve Chainey (Vice-Chair); Sarah Bade; Susan Chainey; Penny Rink; Jerry Wachtel

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