CESA Award 2009
OperationOC Honored with Certificate of Special Recognition
For the second year in a row, OperationOC has been honored with a Certificate of Special Recognition for outstanding service in the field of emergency management by the California Emergency Services Association (CESA). This year’s recognition was earned for OperationOC’s collaborative efforts with public and private entities that resulted not only in exemplary service following the 2008 Freeway Fires, but in the formation of a network of Orange County churches and ministries that serve in disaster response. Not only does OperationOC itself provide valuable services directly to disaster victims, but its efforts in engaging the Christian community to respond in a coordinated fashion will result in a multiplication of resources and services available throughout Orange County in the event of a disaster.
On November 18, 2008, at the request of the Mass Care and Shelter Division of the Orange County Operational Area, OperationOC sent a team of volunteers and staff to the Local Assistance Center in Anaheim, serving seven days until the closing of the LAC on November 24th. While serving there, OperationOC worked in partnership with 2-1-1 Orange County, Working Wardrobes and Hope Force International. Upon the closing of the LAC, OperationOC continued to serve disaster victims out of its Tustin base at the Orange County Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope in Tustin, assisting victims with their ongoing needs. OperationOC was activated on November 15, 2008, and served disaster victims for fifty-three days until January 7, 2009, when it was no longer receiving requests for help. During the course of the activation, OperationOC served 115 households, representing 437 fire victims. It provided over 2,100 units of service in the form of food boxes, hygiene supplies, gift cards (gas, grocery, restaurant, phone and Target cards), referrals to other service providers and emotional and spiritual care.
Following the Freeway Complex Fire response, OperationOC has been working on building partnerships among the churches and ministries active in disaster response in Orange County. Beginning with two informational sessions in February, the OperationOC Church and Ministry Partnership has since had six monthly meetings, gathering enthusiastic participation from groups such as the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, Catholic Charities of Orange County, Hope Force International, Laguna Niguel Presbyterian Church, Mariners Church, RockHarbor, Yorba Linda Friends Church and more.
The group plans to respond to disaster in a coordinated fashion using the Incident Command System model and working out of OperationOC’s Emergency Operations Center-Recovery (EOC-R), coordinating and supporting services as diverse as mobile feeding, people and animal sheltering, home demolition, mobile medical services, chaplaincy and more. Through OperationOC, the group has a strong connection with the Collaborating Organizations Active in Disaster-Orange County (COAD-OC) and will work in concert with the COAD’s efforts. The partnership’s next meeting will focus on planning an exercise to coincide with the October 15th Great California ShakeOut to simulate how such a coordinated effort might work. The partnership continues to grow and looks forward to helping a broader base of congregations prepare themselves for disaster, as well as equipping them to respond in their communities in an effective manner.
OperationOC’s collaborative efforts with public and private entities, seen both in their 2008 Freeway Complex Fire response and in the formation of their Church and Ministry Partnership, are enhancing the breadth and coordination of services available to the Orange County community following disaster. For this reason, OperationOC was honored with a certificate of special recognition for outstanding service in the field of emergency management.