Belvedere Block Captains
D I S A S T E R S D O N ' T P L A N A H E A D . . . W E C A N .
Our mission is to deliver a best-in-class rescue and recovery response in the event of a catastrophic natural disaster. Our volunteer block captains will be the linchpin between residents and emergency operations. For the block captains to be effective, it is vital that we know a little about your household. Please act now and register your information. We want 100% participation!
- About the Block Captain Program
- Why We Need Your Information
- Disaster 101
- Get Ready!
- How Our City is Preparing
- Block Captains Newsletter
About Our Block Captain Program
The Cornerstone of Sound Emergency Preparedness
Welcome to Belvedere Block Captains. The program is part and parcel of the City’s ongoing efforts to update its emergency preparedness planning. As natural disasters escalate in frequency, we learn a bit more each time about what could have been done better. We know that being prepared – at the household and community level – improves outcomes.
Over the past year, our City Council members have been working hard to recruit and train volunteer block captains for every street in Belvedere. Our block captains will act as the conduit between neighbors and emergency services should disaster strike. They will be responsible for surveying their block, identifying needs, and reporting back to the City’s Emergency Operations Center through their two-way radios. They are NOT there to provide direct assistance or supplies. Households are responsible for ensuring they have adequate supplies of their own.
In order for our block captains to do their jobs, it’s important that they know a bit about your household, including particular vulnerabilities. We can’t require you to share your information with us, but doing so will ensure that you don’t get forgotten.
Why We Need Your Information
Knowing Your Household Will Help Us to Help You
One of the biggest challenges that rescue and recovery teams face in the immediate aftermath of a natural disaster is knowing who is accounted for and who is not – and who needs assistance most urgently. If local communications fail, and Belvedere is cut-off by flooding or earthquake damage, the challenge becomes harder. That said, if our block captains know about the composition of households in their street, they can work quickly to assess who has the most pressing needs and communicate that information to our Emergency Operations Center through their two-way radios. If we know nothing about your household, you could be overlooked.
Telling us a bit about your household, including family pets, along with any special circumstances to watch out for, will help our block captains do their jobs. Having your contact details will help us more readily establish if you are out of town.
We know that sharing your information is hard. Maintaining your privacy is of the utmost importance to us. Your information will be saved on an encrypted server and only accessed by our block captain coordinator at City Hall. A printout of your information will be shared with your street’s block captains. They will need this information at hand should disaster strike.
Why Belvedere is Vulnerable
There a many wonderful aspects to living in Belvedere, but one of the downsides is that we are vulnerable to natural disasters – flooding, wildfires and earthquakes, in particular. We live in close proximity to some of the country’s most dangerous fault lines. According to a 2015 United States Geological Survey (PDF), there is a 72% chance that the San Francisco Area will experience an earthquake of at least 6.7 magnitude in the next 30 years. The San Francisco earthquakes of 1906 and 1989 were 6.9 and 7.8 magnitude respectively. The former destroyed 80% of San Francisco and killed 3,000 people. Of course, building codes have improved dramatically since then, but our population has also soared. Clearly, we have very good reason to be vigilant.
Our close proximity to the water and the degradation of our wetlands, also makes us vulnerable. A major hydrological event could leave our low-lying areas under water, including Beach Road and San Rafael Avenue, thereby cutting us off from the outside world. Modelling suggests we could be on our own for 5-7 days, possibly without electricity, water, sewer or communications. It is vital that we work together as a community during this time. Getting prepared is the first step.
Are You Ready for the Big One?
If there is one thing we know about natural disasters, it’s that they are unpredictable. Intellectually we know the risks we face are great, yet many of us remain woefully unprepared for a catastrophic event. Depending on the type of event, we could be forced to evacuate at short notice or, alternatively, have to shelter in place for a sustained period of time with severe impediments which could include:
- No electricity, water, or sewer.
- Failing communications.
- Belvedere inaccessible.
- Residents separated from family members.
- Fire and police departments dealing with more serious situations and unable to respond quickly to issues in Belvedere.
The critical piece to keeping your family safe, is being prepared. Here are the key steps:
Sign up for Alert Marin to receive emergency notifications via email, phone and text from your local fire and police departments. Program 840 AM on your car radio. This frequency will be used to broadcast across the Peninsula in the event of a disaster.
Know who your block captains are and register your household information with the City.
Familiarize yourself with Belvedere’s Evacuation Map (PDF).
Take a free 2-hour Get Ready class at Tiburon Police Department to learn about household and community preparedness. The class covers the A-Z of how to prepare for, respond to and recover from all types of disaster. These classes are hugely popular so don’t delay in signing up. Space is limited.
How Our City is Preparing for Disaster
We Take Your Safety Very Seriously
Ensuring the safety of our residents is a top priority for the City of Belvedere. We are constantly updating our emergency plans in accordance with best practices. In partnership with the Town of Tiburon, we have an Emergency Operations Plan in place, based on California’s Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS). All City staff receive regular training, including FEMA’s Incident Command System course, and section-specific training from the County of Marin’s Office of Emergency Services.
Our block captain program is a vital addition to our plans.
- Here are a few important points to bear in mind should disaster strike:
- City staff – led by our City Manager, Police Chief and Fire Chief – will direct our response and recovery efforts.
- Operations will be run from our Emergency Operations Center (EOC), located at Tiburon Police Department. If this location is compromised, Belvedere Community Center will act as the EOC. The EOC is not intended to be accessed by the general public.
- Block Captains will interface with the EOC through their two-way radios.
- Designated shelters will be announced through Alert Marin and 840 AM.
- First-aid facilities will be announced through Alert Marin and 840 AM. First-aid supplies are maintained at locations in both Tiburon and Belvedere and will be moved to the designated first-aid facilities.
Mayor of Belvedere
Disaster preparedness is a top priority for us. We’ve learned from disasters elsewhere that top-down planning is insufficient. We need actively involved resident volunteers combined with community training to strengthen our rescue and recovery efforts. This is where our block captains come in.
Belvedere City Manager
We’ve created the Belvedere Block Captain website so that residents can easily and securely register their household information online with the City of Belvedere. Our goal is 100% participation, which would set a wonderful example of effective community preparedness
Belvedere Chief of Police
In the event of a regional catastrophic disaster, our emergency responders will be stretched, and Belvedere could be inaccessible. Our volunteer block captains will provide crucial assistance by being our eyes and ears, tasked with identifying need and interfacing with our Emergency Operations Center.
Belvedere/Tiburon Fire Chief
In an emergency situation, every household needs to be accounted for and block captains can assist with that goal, leaving the Fire Department to take charge of other critical assignments. I encourage all residents to register their information and, even better, consider volunteering as a block captain.
Head of Block Captain Task Force
We are very proud of our block captain program in which neighbors care for neighbors in the event of a disaster. To be most effective it is imperative that the block captains be familiar with their neighborhood, especially residents who may require immediate assistance.
Emergency Services Coordinator
A good neighbor is better than a faraway friend. This is especially true after a disaster. First responders and friends may be unable to assist you when help is needed, but your neighbors are right there. It is on all of us to be prepared; as individuals and as a community.