L.A. Hospitals Readied for Terror Attacks 

L.A. Hospitals Readied for Terror Attacks 
Posted by FoM on July 23, 2000 at 14:06:28 PT
By Troy Anderson, Staff Writer 
Source: The Daily News
Concerned about a possible biological or chemical terrorist attack during the Democratic National Convention, Los Angeles hospitals have stocked up on antidotes and undergone decontamination training. At the request of U.S. Secret Service and other government officials, about a dozen hospitals downtown also have received special equipment to protect doctors and nurses and treat patients.
"The thing we are most concerned about is terrorism and particularly, bio-terrorism," said Jim Lott, executive vice president of the Healthcare Association of Southern California, which represents hospitals countywide. "We will be on super-alert mode for the convention.""We’re not all equipped to handle biochemical terrorist threats. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be handled." FBI, Secret Service and police stress preparations for any eventuality are necessary for a high-profile political event involving the president, vice president and thousands of party activists."We are looking at what occurred in Seattle and indications that some of those folks are planning on coming and exercising their First Amendment rights in Los Angeles," said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Emergency Operations Bureau Lt. Dennis Beene. "There isn’t anything we’re seeing that we’re concerned about."Still, officials acknowledge there is always the potential for terrorism and U.S. Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Frank O’Donnell said agents have met with hospitals to ensure "in the event of an emergency, all the advance work has been done."In addition to that, both the president and vice president travel with military doctors. All over town, depending on where the president or vice president will be — the west end or downtown — we reach out to all the hospitals they will be close to."At California Hospital Medical Center — the closest hospital to Staples Center where the convention will be held Aug. 14-17 — doctors and nurses have been told they could be the first choice for treatment in the event of a terrorist attack."We have purchased a lot of equipment, specialized masks and gowns," said Dr. Robert Splawn, medical director of the hospital. "And the No. 1 one thing we need to do is secure the hospital because if we’re down, we won’t be able to take care of anyone."Protest organizers said the preparations are part of the "hype and hysteria" concerning demonstrators."The idea that protesters have any plans to be involved in any terrorist activity is just outrageous and really discourages people from exercising their First Amendment rights," said D2K protest spokeswoman Margaret Prescod. She added law enforcement figures that 50,000 protesters are expected at the convention are exaggerated.Epidemiologists from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have arrived in Los Angeles to help hospitals track any outbreaks during the convention by using a special computer program that will analyze the symptoms people report to emergency rooms workers."This is for special events like the Olympics and political conventions," CDC spokeswoman Barbara Reynolds said. "We have CDC people assigned to the Los Angeles area who will help local officials detect early if there is an outbreak. Our software can determine quickly if the illness is above normal levels."Last week, the county’s Emergency Management Council Steering Committee met and approved the DNC emergency management plan to handle the worst.The plan calls for a coordinated effort between city and county governments and the U.S. Secret Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, Los Angeles Police Department and county Sheriff’s and Fire departments.The Federal Emergency Management Agency, Secret Service and FBI are the lead federal agencies, staffing communication and operation centers in the Los Angeles area during the convention.The plan notes that the convention has the potential to become a target of terrorist acts ranging from individual acts of violence to the use of weapons of mass destruction. It calls for government officials to monitor water systems and to work with power utilities to ensure county government is not blacked-out by a power emergency.The report notes that terrorists could be "disguised" as protesters.The county has been preparing for a potential terrorist attack for more than three years, said Constance Perett, director of the county Office of Emergency Management.Hospital personnel have also been issued special suits to wear and have undergone decontamination training, said Virginia Hastings, director of the county Emergency Medical Services Agency.County supervisors voted in August 1998 to accept a $250,000 federal grant that allowed the county to prepare for nuclear, biological or chemical terrorist attacks."Los Angeles County is probably one of the most, if not most prepared, counties in the United States," Perett said. "But there is still work to be done."Perett said the county’s preparation for Y2K put the county in a mode of readiness."One of the interesting things about Y2K is it reached deeper into the psyche of the government and private sector than any other single event ever has," she said.Darlene Isbell, assistant director of the county Emergency Medical Services Agency, said officials are making sure the hospitals are well- staffed, have plenty of supplies and that roads are open for ambulance drivers."As with any disaster, like Y2K, when you have a known event in front of you, you have a better opportunity to plan than if you have an earthquake when you least expect it." Direct Link To Above Article: Forum: kaptinemo Published: Sunday, July 23, 2000  A Los Angeles Newspaper Group NewspaperRelated Articles:You've Got To Change The Political Wind Conventions Articles On The Shadow Conventions: 
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Comment #1 posted by r.earing on July 24, 2000 at 09:38:21 PT:
We must keep Al Gore safe from the termites!Imagine how embarrassed America would be if termites ate the would-be President! Then everyone would know he's just a big ,dumb puppet.(instead of a sophisticated lifelike robot) Oh,the chaos! Jeez, the terrorists would really be doing y'all a favor.Couldn't ya let a few get through?
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