Cooperation • Communication • Coordination • Collaboration

The San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Task Force on Public Safety 

Protect yourself • Protect your family • Protect your community

How it Started

On January 30, 2013, Sheriff Ian Parkinson and Pacific Gas and Electric Company jointly announced the formation of the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff's Task Force on Public Safety. The Task Force was established through a donation of $75,000 from PG&E to the Sheriff's Advisory Foundation. The donation and Task Force are designed to meet a need that was highlighted in the San Luis Obispo County Civil Grand Jury report released in 2011. 

The Grand Jury concluded that overall, San Luis Obispo County is in commendable shape for emergency readiness; however, they noted that there are some possible areas that are in need of improvements. The report indicated a need for:

  • Better integration and communication between multiple agencies and the public
  • Education and training the public about what to do in an emergency
  • Increased awareness of and coordination with volunteer organizations in large-scale response efforts 

The Goal

The goal of the Task Force is to raise public awareness and to increase collaboration and communication in the hopes of establishing San Luis Obispo County as the most prepared county in the country when it comes to disaster preparedness and response.

Why It's Important

"We strive to be the safest county in the country and this new Task Force gives us a great opportunity to be better prepared and responsive in case of emergency. With PG&E's generous donation, we are able to be a leader in planning for any and all types of emergencies" said Sheriff Ian Parkinson. 

Who's Involved

Led by the Sheriff's Office, the Task Force will include personnel from each of the seven cities (Arroyo Grande, Atascadero, Grover Beach, Morro Bay, Paso Robles, Pismo Beach, and San Luis Obispo), as well as representatives from PG&E and stakeholders like the Red CrossVolunteer Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD), and 2-1-1. It will also include media partners with the goal of fostering outreach plans and raising awareness about emergency preparedness.

Media Awareness

On December 16, 2013, San Luis Obispo County Sheriff Ian Parkinson unveiled the first in a series of six public service announcements produced by the Task Force. Each PSA was created to help local residents and businesses prepare for natural and man-made disasters on the Central Coast. The PSAs include the familiar faces of local mayors and some rely on humor to stress the importance of being prepared for any type of disaster. They will be airing on television and radio and featured in print.

Find out more: Watch PSAs here

How VOAD Can Help

San Luis Obispo County can ill afford to ignore the potential capacity of its citizens to help improve conditions in the community, especially in times of disaster. Spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers (SUV) often arrive on-site in numbers too great for emergency responders to manage while they try to meet the immediate needs of communities affected by disaster. The challenge, therefore, is reconciling the desire of SUVs to help, with the need of emergency responders to do their jobs unencumbered by the responsibility of managing volunteers. This is where the Task Force has asked VOAD to step in by establishing Disaster Volunteer Centers (DVC) throughout San Luis Obispo County.

What's a Disaster Volunteer Center

A Disaster Volunteer Center (DVC) is a centralized clearinghouse established to increase the capacity of communities to coordinate spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers during disaster response and recovery activities. The purpose of a DVC is to affiliate SUVs with requesting agencies. At the DVC, prospective volunteers are registered, interviewed, and referred to an appropriate volunteer opportunity based upon their qualifications and availability. Disaster Volunteer Centers are important because they:

  • Direct the outpouring of spontaneous unaffiliated volunteers to where they are needed most in an efficient manner
  • Create order out of potential chaos
  • Give people an opportunity to be involved in the recovery of their own community
  • Create disaster resilience
What You Can Do

Watch and share the public service announcements created by the San Luis Obispo County Task Force on Public Safety:
Watch PSAs here
Sign up for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course in your area:
Sign up for a Red Cross class as an individual and/or organization:
Register your organization as a VOAD member:
Register as a SLOVOAD member
To run a successful Disaster Volunteer Center, San Luis Obispo County needs pre-trained people to staff each DVC. If your organization is interested in learning more about becoming involved with staffing a DVC and/or becoming a DVC site, contact:
  • Rick London, SLOVOAD Chairperson & United Way of San Luis Obispo County CEO
  • Rebekah Livermore, United Way of San Luis Obispo County Volunteer Coordinator

Funding provided by:

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