FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Dave Heylen, V.P. Communications California Grocers Association
California Grocers Association
1415 L Street, Suite 450
Sacramento, CA 95814
SACRAMENTO, CA – The California Grocers Association recently joined Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to unveil an historical agreement that makes the private sector key partners in the state’s disaster response system with the intent to expedite relief efforts and maximize critical resources. The governor announced the signing of four Memorandum of Understandings (MOU) at a press conference on October 3, 2008, in San Diego. The four private sector partners include California Grocers Association, Business Executives for National Security, the California Utilities Emergency Association and Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
The groundbreaking agreements are the first of many the state Office of Emergency Services (OES) plans to have signed that will allow government agencies to access emergency management professionals in the private sector at all times. In addition the private sector partners will have access to the State Operations Center during an emergency or natural disaster to staff a “Business Operations Center” now being established by the OES.
“These MOUs will allow for more targeted and efficient delivery of goods and services by formalizing 24-hour contacts with the private sector,” Schwarzenegger said. “Having the private sector side-by-side with state and federal emergency management personnel will expedite response activities and maximize resources.”
The governor said the MOUs mean California is now “better prepared than ever before for disasters, which is important especially now, at the start of Santa Ana wind season in Southern California.”
“We have the world’s best firefighters, police and first responders, but we all know government cannot do it all,” Schwarznegger said. “Making these kinds of public-private partnerships is exactly what California needs. I am so pleased that these private sector partners will be on call 24-7 for the people of California next time an emergency strikes.”
CGA President Ronald Fong participated in the press conference and lauded the partnering of state emergency services and the private sector during last year’s Southern California wildfires. “The coordinated effort between the public and private sector to provide aid and relief to the millions of California residents impacted by the devastating fires demonstrated how two separate entities, both with incredible resources at their disposal, can respond efficiently and effectively when called upon,” Fong said.
“Having access to all key government agencies in one central location, obtaining essential disaster information and updates in a timely manner, assisting with critical issues as they developed and the open exchange of ideas, processes, capabilities and contacts was crucial to the overwhelming success of last year’s wildfire relief efforts,” Fong added.
Grocery retailers from throughout California played a major role in providing food, water and other necessities to the Californians displaced by the 2007 Southern California wildfires, as well as for emergency responders and evacuation centers. With staff in the state’s emergency services command center in Sacramento, CGA was a key element in coordinating with state and local agencies the massive food and water relief effort.
The CGA president commended Governor Schwarzenegger for his leadership and vision in developing this unique public/private partnership.
Looking forward, Fong said the grocery industry views the MOU as just the beginning. “CGA looks forward to strengthening and expanding this important partnership in the months and years to come,” Fong said. “The grocery industry has a long history of answering the call for help. Streamlining the distribution system through coordinated planning and implementation will only strengthen our industry’s commitment to respond when disaster strikes.”
Several CGA members attended the signing ceremony including Albertsons, Vons and Whole Foods.
The California Grocers Association is a non-profit, statewide trade association representing the food industry since 1898. CGA represents approximately 500 retail members operating over 6,000 food stores in California and Nevada, and approximately 200 grocery supplier companies