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Information on Terrorism

Since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, we have all become more concerned about the threat of terrorism. The information presented on these pages will help you understand better what Los Angeles County is doing to prepare for terrorism and what you can do to prepare your family and business for a possible terrorist attack. And at the same time you’re taking steps to prepare for terrorism, you’re also preparing for any major disaster, like a major earthquake.

What is the County doing about terrorism?

Los Angeles County has one of the premier emergency response systems in the country, and if there is a terrorist event, these systems will immediately be activated. Like the rest of the nation, we know we’re vulnerable to terrorist attacks, and committed staff in key county agencies are working long hours to ensure that county government is prepared. County employees are committed to providing the best possible services to our communities, whether in normal times or in crisis. The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is committed to supporting essential planning and county services.

In 1996, the county established the Terrorism Working Group (TWG), a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional group, including local law enforcement, local fire, and the county Department of Health Services. The TWG has developed terrorism response plans and training. The county also developed a Terrorism Early Warning (TEW) group, which assesses potential threats to determine if they are credible.

Because of the current heightened state of alert, the TEW works full time to assess local threat conditions. The TEW is in constant contact with key federal agencies, such as the FBI. TEW shares its findings with key county decision-makers and with local law enforcement agencies.

How does the County prepare?

In any emergency, the County follows disaster plans, which apply to any natural or human-caused disaster. The county’s special terrorism plan was released in March 2003, but County departments have also developed terrorism plans that apply to their specific programs and responsibilities. (See Emergency Exercises for information on this year’s program.) Complementing the planning element, the County conducts a regular program of training and exercises. Public safety departments (Sheriff, Fire, Coroner, Health Services, and Public Works) conduct regular training for first response staff and more than 150 employees from ten county departments are on call to work in the County Emergency Operations Center. CEOC staff receives regular and frequent training on communication and computer systems and on their specific responsibilities as part of the county’s emergency team. Each year the county manages several emergency exercises, some are narrowly focused on CEOC operations but at least one each year includes all county departments and most of the 88 cities.

County Code Section 2.68 designates the Sheriff as the director of emergency response and the Chief Administrative Officer as the director of recovery operations. Local cities are in charge of any emergency in their jurisdiction, and the County gives support and resources as needed. The County also coordinates mutual aid between cities, with other counties and state agencies.

Click here to see frequently asked questions about terrorism.