City Teams-Up with L.A. County Fire and Sheriff’s for Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Exercise
The City of West Hollywood regularly prepares for emergencies with training exercises. These simulations allow West Hollywood City Hall staff members and members of the West Hollywood 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 of West Hollywood to be better prepared for emergencies, disasters, and threats to public safety and to recover from incidents.
On Monday, September 12, 2016, the City of West Hollywood conducted two Emergency Operations Center (EOC) simulation exercises in cooperation with the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) and with the assistance of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and its West Hollywood Sheriff’s Station.
“Public safety is the City of West Hollywood’s number-one priority,” said City of West Hollywood Mayor Lauren Meister. “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, California and Orlando, Florida. The date of the simulation exercise marked three months since the shooting at an Orlando LGBT nightclub, Pulse, on Sunday, June 12, 2016, in which 49 people were killed and 53 people were wounded.
Two unique Emergency Operations Center drills — one in the morning; one in the afternoon — were developed for the City of West Hollywood’s training. 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 West Hollywood City Hall, the City’s Public Safety Department activated the City’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which is responsible for coordinating the City’s response to, and recovery from, emergency incidents.
For the EOC exercises, the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Training Services Section’s Film Unit designed a cutting-edge training film using a very high production value, which added a realistic dimension to the training. The 53-minute film created a “live 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 a dynamically evolving emergency situation, which began with reports of a structure fire within West Hollywood. 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 video footage added a sense of realism that is rarely seen or felt in a simulated training environment. The EOC 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. Participant feedback will help to inform EOC improvements and help the City to remain well prepared for emergencies in the future.
September is National Preparedness Month. The City of West Hollywood 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.
The City of West Hollywood’s website features tools and information dedicated to helping community members prepare for emergencies. Please visit www.weho.org/publicsafety for additional information.
For more information about the City of West Hollywood’s Public Safety Department, or about the City’s efforts prepare for emergencies, please call (323) 848-6414. For people who are deaf or hearing impaired, please call TTY (323) 848-6496.