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West Hollywood conducts emergency disaster exercises

WEST HOLLYWOOD — The city conducted two emergency operations center simulated disaster exercises Sept. 12 in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Fire Department and the West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.

The simulations allow City Hall staff members and members of the City Council to engage in coordinated public safety response scenarios with law enforcement and Fire Department personnel, as well as with additional agencies and organizations.

Training exercises help the city be better prepared for emergencies, disasters and threats to public safety and to recover from incidents, a city spokesperson said.

“Public safety is the city’s number-one priority,” Mayor Lauren Meister said. “We’re all better prepared for emergencies and disasters through training and I applaud our partners at the Los Angeles County Fire Department, as well as the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, for designing and implementing a truly comprehensive emergency operations exercise that will help us all to coordinate and respond in the future.”

This year’s training efforts reflected the stark realities of recent gun violence tragedies in San Bernardino, and Orlando, Florida. The date of the simulation exercise marked three months since the shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, Pulse, on June 12, in which 49 people were killed and 53 people were wounded.

Two drills — one in the morning and one in the afternoon — were developed for the city. Each exercise included the participation of approximately 35 city staff members and nearly 20 representatives from local law enforcement and the Fire Department.

In a simulation at City Hall, the city’s Public Safety Department activated the city’s Emergency Operations Center, which is responsible for coordinating the city’s response to emergency incidents.

For the exercises, the Fire Department’s training services section’s film unit designed a training film that created a breaking news format with social media and cell phone footage intercut with a news anchor reporting the developing story on television screens located in the Emergency Operations Center.

Footage simulated an evolving emergency situation, which began with reports of a structure fire. The situation, as seen on television, quickly escalated with an active shooter scenario complete with emergency responses, road closures, evacuations, shelters and a mock news conference.

The drill included role-playing, which involved operations, planning/intelligence, logistics, procurement, and communications functions to ensure that the exercise matched, as closely as possible, a real-life emergency response experience.

September is National Preparedness Month. The city encourages everyone in the community to take action and make a plan with neighbors and family, as well as for pets. Community members should plan ahead about how to stay safe and communicate during potential disasters and emergencies, and store or refresh reserve water and food supplies.

The city of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Department provides oversight of law enforcement and coordinates community programs to reduce crime and increase public safety and the quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors to West Hollywood. Knowing what to do in an emergency or disaster is the key to a quick response and recovery.

 

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