A Message from Fillmore Mayor Conaway

At the last City Council meeting the council voted to support a future business item on the issue of the General Plan Safety Element. The Safety Element lists, in broad brush strokes, the risks and issues of living in Fillmore. We’re a small town surrounded by rivers, creeks and mountains. If we live in Fillmore, we have a responsibility to understand what risks we collectively share and accept. As individuals, we should be prepared for disastrous events. Living in Southern California our largest risk is possibly that of earthquakes. The effects of such events still ring true for many in town. We also know that our rivers and creeks have been known to flood, our hills burn and mudslides do occur. Yet, we all accept these risks and continue to live in our respective locations. Part of the Safety Element should be continuing education. Just as our Fire and Police Department train for events, individually we should also be trained and prepared for Mother Nature’s worst. I hope that citizens take the opportunity to engage this issue and help us revise the important aspects of the General Plan Safety Element as that process takes shape.
When I consider my family’s personal preparedness, it’s apparent that we need to do more. The following is meant to spur thought on the matter. As families do we have an emergency plan in place and do we talk about it? Does each family member know their roll in the plan? If the family is separated, do we have a designated location to meet at especially if we have to evacuate our home? Do we have a contact person we can call and check in with if we’re separated? Are we physically prepared? Do we keep our vehicles filled with gas at all times so that we can use them when the time arises? Not an easy goal to achieve if you have teenagers in the family, I know this first hand. Do we have ample supplies of food and water to sustain us until assistance arrives? Is that food and water rotated and checked on a routine basis? Do we have a “grab and go” pack in the event we have to evacuate our homes which contain food, water, medications, clothes and sundries? Are we prepared to care for our pets in times of need? Do we have small preparedness packs in each car? Think about your commute to work. What is the chance that an event happens when you are away? I realize that I have work to do. Being prepared is more of a journey than a destination.
Training is a key component to being prepared. Fillmore has a great program in place that provides training, free of charge, to any citizen, that being CERT. Citizen Emergency Response Training is a class which has directly benefited all graduates and their neighbors and families. These willing and now trained citizens will assist our professional emergency responders in the event of a disaster.
Being prepared can reduce the stress that will naturally be present in times of a disaster. Having a plan to execute is much easier than not knowing what to do and not being prepared. We all have the choice to either be prepared or to be helpless. Tough times have fallen upon us in the past and will again in the future. Choosing to take control as individuals and reaching out to help others will better prepare us as a city. Being prepared as a city is a worthy journey indeed. We can’t help others with their oxygen masks if we don’t know how to use it ourselves.
On a different topic, residents should have received a card informing them of pending fees associated with Chloride and Storm Water Treatment. The intent of the unanimous City Council in delivering this card was to educate the citizens of other pending issues facing the city. Understanding the driving force behind these pending State requirements is important. It is not the City of Fillmore that is willingly proposing these changes. We are reacting to legislative state bodies which impose rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are backed by fines to seek compliance. The root of these proposed requirements started with the Clean Water Act. We are now seeing the “devil in the details”. As a city we’ll be required to address chlorides and storm water in one manner or another in the future. Our goal is to comply, in the least costly manner possible. If you have concerns, I encourage you to attend the meetings and speak before the Regional Water Quality Board. Let them hear your concerns and the impact these far reaching requirements will have on you as a citizen.
Steve Conaway,
Mayor City of Fillmore