DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE
The Public Works Agency has the responsibility to protect public health and safety, and to preserve public property and infrastructure from the effects of hazardous events, earthquakes, floods, etc. Our role is to identify and mitigate hazards, preparing for and responding to, as well as managing the recovery from, emergency situations that effect our infrastructure, including damage-assessment surveys of public facilities, roads, bridges, channels, levees, and other infrastructure.
In an emergency, public works staff works closely with public safety, whether its law enforcement or fire personnel, to assess damage and develop and implement responses. The Public Works Agency plays a key role in the County’s response teams. In fact, public works was officially added as a first responder in 2005 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). When an emergency is declared, Public Works personnel also serve as part of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and operate a Department Operations Center (DOC) at the Public Works Agency’s building at 951 Turner Court, Hayward.
In major events, transportation and flood control are two important areas of focus for public works personnel. The access to and from impacted areas is often damaged or impassable during an emergency response. In such cases, restoring this access is essential to save lives and preserve public property. The Public Works Agency is called upon to bring in the heavy equipment and personnel to remove debris and re-establish access for emergency workers who need to rescue or evacuate residents.