The drill on disaster

first_img command vehicle and its $387,000 communications system. “This is the unveiling,” he said. One of six in the county, the system can do everything from track emergency vehicles and personnel to tap into live feeds from TV news helicopters. “It can use a land line, a cell or satellite,” Warm said. “It’s a one-touch system. It finds which link works for you.” Monday’s mission was to move key government personnel unable to use damaged freeways to their jobs in Los Angeles. Fairplex was their meeting point, and police and firefighters were ready. They coned off a secure area and set up registration tables as the landing helicopters kicked up a cloud of dust and gravel. While waiting for more Marines to arrive and play the role of stranded government workers, firefighters stepped up and received cards telling them their jobs and key skills, as well as any equipment they were bringing. They were entered into the mobile command system, which assigned them to a flight. “We’ll test this system to the max here,” Paulson said. Warm said the exercises – given the code name Golden Phoenix – are in response to the communication and organizational challenges that government agencies faced in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Whether the disaster is a wildfire, earthquake or a train derailment and chemical spill, agencies must learn to react quickly and act as one, he said. The exercises will continue through Wednesday, in locations including Los Alamitos. “Everyone learns to work together,” Warm said. (909) 483-9355 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Photo Gallery: Golden Phoenix Disaster Drill POMONA – The disaster started late. But early Monday afternoon, the whap-whap-whap of two Marine helicopters at last filled the air over Fairplex. On the ground, Pomona and Los Angeles police, and Los Angeles County firefighters waited to spring into action. “Use the check-in,” said Los Angeles police Sgt. Shannon Paulson. “The check-in log.” The event was a catastrophic earthquake, and Pomona kicked off three days of exercises meant to test the ability of local, state and federal agencies to respond and communicate. While this was only a drill, the event was high-tech and high stakes. Moving police and fire personnel and critical government employees where they are needed in an emergency could, in many cases, be a matter of life and death. Pomona police Lt. Mark Warm said the exercise was a great chance to test its high-tech last_img

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