Contact: Tony Bell, Communications Deputy
Office: (213) 974-5555 Cell: (213) 215-5176
September 1, 2009 For Immediate Release
LOS ANGELES COUNTY – In response to countless reports from constituents on the lack of timely, accurate and user-friendly incident updates on County websites about evacuations, road closures, shelters, transit schedules and school closures, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich has requested a thorough review of the County’s response to the Station Fire to ensure that the information posted on the County’s website about the fires is real-time and accurate, in addition to reviewing the effectiveness and failures of the County’s mass emergency notification system.
“Information on evacuation orders and evacuation shelters has not been readily available to the impacted communities,” said Antonovich. “Several impacted cities, provided hourly updates to the communities they serve via their websites and phone notification systems. The County’s Public Information Office has the capability to provide the same level of service to its residents but failed to do so during this incident.”
Antonovich also called for a review of the County’s new mass emergency notification system which sent an erroneous evacuation order to the community of La Crescenta.
The motion calls for a report back in two weeks on the following issues:
1. Perform a thorough review of the effectiveness and failures of the County’s mass emergency notification system;
- Ensure that the information posted on the County’s website about the fires is real-time, accurate and user friendly and that protocols and procedures are developed to institutionalize the real-time posting of such information/updates on natural disasters and other significant incidents in the future.
- Authorize Section 8 housing vouchers to qualified individuals and families, to apply a local preference to those individuals and families, to apply to HUD for any additional funds, including emergency vouchers, and to dispatch a response team to evacuation centers to assist individuals whose homes were lost in the fire.
- Assess the effect of the fires on the watersheds of Los Angeles County, including impacts upon the infrastructure of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District (including dams, debris basins, channels, and storm drains), and take immediate action to provide flood protection, prevent hillside erosion, to reduce potential impacts upon County residents.
- Work with Federal and State agencies, including the Natural Resource Conservation Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, the United States Forest Service, and the State Department of Water Resources, and the County Fire Department to effectively implement and fund temporary flood protection measures to protect resident living near burnt hillsides and canyons from potential effects of devastating mudflows due to loss of vegetation on slopes.
- Expedite the issuance of permits and establish one-stop permitting centers in those areas impacted by the recent fires.
- Develop concessions for property-owners whose homes were damaged or destroyed in the fires, including extending deadlines for upcoming property tax payments, adjusting property taxes to reflect the recent loss of structures, or deferring payments to future tax years.