"There is a 70% probability of at least one magnitude 6.7 or greater quake, capable of causing widespread damage, striking the San Francisco Bay Region before 2030. Major quakes may occur in any part of this rapidly growing region."
— 1999 U.S. Geological Survey —
This quote from an October 1999 U.S. Geological Survey emphasizes the urgency for all communities in the Bay region to continue preparing for earthquakes. Acknowledging this significant risk, and recognizing the special needs of the community's vulnerable population, the Triad Alliance was developed to ensure that high risk clients don't "fall through the cracks" during the response and recovery phases of an emergency. The City of San Leandro, California (located in the San Francisco Bay Area region), in partnership with the Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD), has taken the steps to address the special and unique needs associated with the community's vulnerable population during and after a disaster.
The usual approach to delivering emergency services does not always provide the essential services for that portion of the population requiring special needs. This population may represent those people that are physically or mentally disabled, medically or chemically dependent, elderly, children, homeless, and non-English speakers. Recent disasters demonstrate that traditional response agencies are often ill equipped to respond to the special needs of our vulnerable populations. Following the Loma Prieta earthquake (October 1989) in the San Francisco area and the Northridge earthquake in the Los Angeles area (January 1994), emergency services professionals became painfully aware that the traditional response and recovery systems were not able to successfully satisfy all the human needs. The usual approach to delivering emergency services does not always provide the essential services for that portion of the population requiring special needs. . . the vulnerable population.
Given the high potential for future catastrophic disasters throughout the US, it is imperative to establish an emergency protocol and plan for delivering services to people with language, cultural, and accessibility needs. The vulnerable population is usually associated with Community Based Organizations (CBOs). CBOs are local organizations (usually non-profit) serving the needs of specific populations within the community. CBOs bring unique expertise in delivering services to people with special needs. The challenge for emergency management professionals is to integrate the CBO's skill and knowledge into the emergency services plans and strategy, thus connecting them to local government. This enhances the response and recovery efforts to our vulnerable populations. The Triad Alliance provides that essential participation and linkage.
The Triad Alliance is the best assurance that the special needs of the vulnerable population will be successfully addressed during long and short-term emergency operations. The alliance consists of a number of essential elements that together create a program in which CBOs are more pre-disaster prepared, thus enabling them to better serve their clients during and following a disaster. The organizational components of the Triad Alliance are:
City: The Emergency Services Division, located in the City Manager's Office, is an active co-founder to the alliance and represents the City in alliance matters and activities. A key objective of the Division's mission is to coordinate emergency response and recovery efforts among city government, school districts, business, community-based organizations, and special districts.
CARD: The Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters, or CARD, is a co-founder of the alliance. This non-profit organization was founded in 1994, with the support of the American Red Cross and United Way. This organization came about as a result of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, when a gap was seen in meeting the needs of the vulnerable populations during and following the quake. CARD's focus is the community's under-served population. CARD has received local, state, national, and international recognition for its model of coordinating disaster planning for at-risk populations.
CBOs: Community Based Organizations are the third principal member of the alliance and form a direct link to the community's vulnerable population. . . their clients. Two CBOs are selected as lead agencies to represent the City's CBO community. These have special experience, knowledge, and skills necessary in serving their clients; this unique know-how, understanding, and expertise becomes an invaluable resource during the response and recovery phases of an emergency or disaster. The City's emergency strategy becomes more responsive and effective in addressing the human services issues by incorporating CBOs into the City's emergency plan and emergency organization.