An innovative feature of the OES structure during this period was the state's mutual aid system and its basic structure is still intact today. The Master Mutual Aid Agreement, signed by all 58 counties and most cities, created a formal structure where each jurisdiction could retain control of its own personnel and facilities but could still give or receive help whenever needed
The agreement also obligated the state to provide available resources to assist local jurisdictions in emergencies. To facilitate the organization and provision of mutual aid, the state was divided into six mutual aid regions. County units functioned as operational areas, coordinating the provision of mutual aid for its subdivisions. For law enforcement, the county sheriff served as the operational area mutual aid coordinator and was elected by law enforcement in each county.
If requests for mutual aid assistance could not be filled at the region, they were forwarded to OES Headquarters (or the State Operations Center or State Coordination Center, if activated). They were filled either with OES resources, those from a local jurisdiction from another OES region, another state agency, or directed to a private vendor. If the request could not be filled at the state level, either because the state system was overloaded or the needed resource was highly specialized, the request was forwarded on to the federal government.
Training. Emergency management training was another important element of the OES mission from this period. OES participated in training programs for local government and state agencies since its inception; however, most of the training involved state-wide implementation of the Federal Emergency Management Training Program and some function-specific training, such as law or fire mutual aid. Although these other elements of training continue, the OES role in training changed greatly with the absorption of the California Specialized Training Institute (CSTI) into the Office of Emergency Services in 1985. CSTI had been created in 1971 as a grant project of the California Military Department to train National Guard members and their civilian counterparts from law enforcement agencies.
A need was identified for a broader type of training focusing on effective local, state, and federal interaction during any kind of emergency. In the early 1980s emergency management courses focusing on earth quake response became a major, and extremely popular, element of the diverse CSTI catalogue. In recognition of its state-wide interdisciplinary nature, the Legislature assigned CSTI the task of overseeing development and implementation of hazardous materials training."
Continues next week.