After a 6.0 earthquake hit Napa, Vallejo, American Canyon and the surrounding areas in California, IAFF members are responding to hundreds of emergency calls.
“When a natural disaster like this one occurs, our members have to put their own needs aside, sometimes for several days, to help others,” says IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger. “It is these selfless acts that help entire communities get back on their feet.”
Napa City Local 3124 President Aaron Baracco says, “I have members with damaged homes. As the frequency of calls slows down, we can go home and get a better idea of how much assistance our members need.”
The earthquake, which occurred on the morning of August 24, is the first big quake to hit the Napa Valley area since 1989 (6.9 magnitude). This tremor destabilized buildings and caused water main breaks, utility leaks, power outages and fires.
Members of Local 3124 and Local 1186 (representing American Canyon and Vallejo), with assistance from Marin Local 1775, CAL FIRE Local 2881 and other California locals, have been responding to related calls virtually nonstop.
“In the beginning, most of our calls were residents with reports of smelling gas or that water was leaking into their homes,” says Local 1186 President Jason Fein. “But as people are trying to clean up, we are getting a lot more calls about injuries.
Fein explains, “The debris is unstable and a lot of it has sharp edges, so people are either being hit by falling objects or getting cut.”
Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Napa, Solano, and Sonoma counties, which will free up state resources to clean up and restore services.