Sacramento, California - California and the State of Victoria, Australia today signed an agreement that will help make both states safer through the sharing of expertise, technical knowledge, training and best practices in wildland fire and flood management.

The Director of the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services and Governor Brown's Homeland Security Advisor (Cal OES) Mark Ghilarducci, Victorian Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett and Victoria's Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the two states recognizing the value of international partnerships in emergency management.

"This agreement breaks new ground for our state and its ability to be more resilient before, during and after any disaster," said Director Ghilarducci. "The similarities between California and Victoria's climates and hazards create a mutually beneficial learning opportunity for our communities and governments."

Both states share similar climates and conditions, as well as similar challenges during emergencies.

The MOU addresses some of those challenges by providing a broad framework for cooperation and support between the two states, and it is focused on common hazards such as wildfire and flood. The agreement encourages joint initiatives that support efficient, sustainable emergency management systems, which will improve services to assist individuals, families, communities and businesses that have been impacted by disaster. The two states will share best practices, expertise and technical assistance to improve capacity in all areas of emergency management and disaster response.

Cal OES is founded in public service, and exists to protect lives, property and the environment by effectively preparing for, preventing, responding to, and recovering from all threats, crimes, hazards and emergencies. Cal OES has been a pioneer in developing best practices in emergency management and disaster mitigation to assure state readiness through strong leadership, collaboration and meaningful partnerships.

Emergency Management Victoria plays a key role in implementing the Victorian Government's emergency management initiatives before, during and after emergencies which drive Victoria's emergency services organizations to train together, establish common policies and operating standards and share the same operational picture, as well as effective use of equipment and systems.

The signing in Sacramento is part of a broader visit to the United States by the Minister for Emergency Services to look at the latest technologies, capability and systems that will help Victoria to achieve its shared goal to build safer and more resilient communities.

"California's emergency management agencies are renowned for their expertise and experience in disaster preparedness and mitigation and this partnership allows Victoria to tap into that expertise," said Minister Garrett. "The Victorian Government is proud to have a partnership with the State of California that will produce real and tangible outcomes for the communities in both states."

Commissioner Lapsley added,"Given California is currently experiencing drought conditions, there is much we can learn while we are here. But in the longer term, this agreement focuses on fostering joint development of initiatives that support and promote improved service delivery to the community and improved efficiency and capability to manage major emergencies."