Blue Lake Rancheria holds National Emergency Management Advanced Academy


BLUE LAKE, CA (KIEM) – The Blue Lake Rancheria holds the first tribal-hosted National Emergency Management Advanced Academy. Its an effort to help tribal first-responders to be prepared for natural disasters.

33 Emergency Management Professionals throughout California and the Pacific Northwest all come together at the Blue Lake Casino. Its to learn how they can work together if a natural disaster were to occur.

“Its good for us to be able to be partners and help in those times, and then if we need help we certainly would like to have those connections so that we can address our own issues too,” said Jason Ramos, Blue Lake Rancheria Tribal Council Member.

A mixture of tribal and non-tribal governments all went through a four-week program to strengthen relationships so they can help one another.  The course is by FEMA.

“The way that we did things in the 20th century simply don’t work anymore. So we’re to the point where we have to adjust the way we look and approaching disasters, and adjust as quickly as we can,” said John Pennington a lead FEMA Instructor.

One of the attendees taking the course is Michael. He experienced a natural disaster himself. He had lost everything in the campfire. He didn’t respond to it on the emergency side, but him and his family did suffer.

“After they had cleared my property, and come to the realization that was my home that was my shop, my boat, my house. And then going back up there and seeing nothing but bare dirt,” said Michael DeSpain, the Natural Resource Director of Buena Vista Rancheria and Me-Wuk Indians.  

Now knowing what it takes to get through a natural disaster, he is ready to work with anyone who needs help.

“Its very critical for tribal governments to have outside resources because a lot of the tribal communities are in rural areas. They’re in deep canyons. Area where a lot resources can’t get to in a time frame,” said DeSpain.

The Emergency Management Professionals graduate Friday at 3 p.m. inside Blue Lake Casino.