San Diego Officials Address Preparedness and Disaster Recovery Resources in the Wake of Recent El Niño Storms; Two Lifeguards Also Honored for Swift Water Rescue Effort

In the wake of dozens of rescues during recent storms – including 67 water rescues over a five-day period – San Diego officials held a press conference yesterday to help residents better prepare for and recover from El Niño-fueled storms. San Diego County Supervisor Ron Roberts remarked: “If anyone had somehow missed the warnings, this series of storms should put us on notice …. This El Niño and the concerns with El Niño are very real, and they’re going to be with us through this rainy season.”  (Source:‘s report,  “City, County Officials Discuss El Nino Preparedness Resources Ahead of Expected Storm Season.”)

During the conference, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessey also honored two brave lifeguards who rescued two men who were trapped in the widest part of the San Diego River. The rescue effort “demonstrated how our public safety teams worked together in the height of the storm,” remarked Chief Fennessey, noting that the  effort involved San Diego Police, the San Diego Lifeguard Swift River Team technicians and paramedics.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessey honors two lifeguards at press conference.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Department Chief Brian Fennessey honors two lifeguards at press conference.

The two victims were submerged in deep water and surrounded by dense vegetation in the pitch dark, making it extremely difficult for the police helicopter to safely hoist the men.  The lifeguards proceeded to make their way through the deep mud and debris, and after over two cold, wet and challenging hours, carried out a successful swift water rescue. (See more details about the rescue via’s report).


During the press conference, officials also urged residents to utilize  resources including  ReadySanDiego and AlertSanDiego – the region’s mass alert system – to prepare for upcoming El Niño storms.

Those who have already suffered damage are advised to visit the San Diego County Recovery Site, which includes information on government assistance programs,  tips on what to do when returning home, general  cleanup information, advice on rebuilding for homeowners and renters; where to replace personal documents and records; and additional resources, including schools, city websites, hospitals & health, and disaster relief organizations.


RED BOOKAnother valuable resource for disaster survivors is the The Red Guide to Recovery, which is also promoted on the San Diego County Recovery Site. This comprehensive, easy-to-read handbook walks disaster survivors step-by-step through the recovery process.  Authored by Sean M. Scott, the guide also raises awareness of the many pitfalls that may present themselves in post-disaster scenarios.  The publication has been adopted by fire departments, emergency management agencies and relief  organizations across the U.S.

In addition to a 10-Point Quick Start checklist for the first 24 hours of recovery, the guide includes detailed chapters on these topics:

  • Emergency services to secure and protect property
  • Disaster relief and financial assistance
  • Homeowners insurance issues after a loss
  • Personal property considerations
  • Estimating repair costs to structural damages
  • Selecting a qualified contractor
  • Public insurance adjuster services
  • Trauma intervention and grief counseling
  • Avoiding Disaster Scams And much more

The Red Guide to Recovery is offered in a variety of formats, including Paperback ($19.95), eBook and a Customized Version.

Additional resources by author Sean Scott include:



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