City Protects and Serves Citizens with Emergency Preparedness Solution
Surrounded by several fault lines and located less than 10 miles from Los Angeles, Glendale, CA, knows that the odds of a major earthquake striking the city, or nearby LA, are high.
One of the principal threats of an earthquake is the demolition and destabilization of buildings. Directly after an earthquake has hit, the teamwork of several government agencies is required to properly help citizens in need. In the past, appropriate assessment of structures has taken months to complete, delaying the recovery of communities.
To improve the speed and efficiency of service with which they provide their citizens, Glendale has chosen an automated emergency response system. The technology makes it possible for the city to immediately dispatch inspectors throughout Glendale carrying hand- held computers for direct assessment of damage.
Inspectors can relay vital disaster information back to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) via a wireless network. The EOC is then able to declare a disaster and process requests for assistance.
Incoming data appears on the EOC’s main console in real time, alerting the city, FEMA, and other response agencies.
The ability to instantaneously report damage from the field provides a more accurate assessment of the damage and activates response services at the appropriate level more rapidly than traditional manual systems. By knowing precisely where the damage is located and its severity, city officials can better protect the public and dispatch resources to the areas with the most need.
“Decision makers need to know the damage and the thresholds reached before escalating a disaster to a higher level,” explains Scott Fabbro, Project Coordinator/Land Information System (LIS) for the City of Glendale.
Assessments that once took weeks to be completed can now be completed in days, explains Fabbro. The Northridge earthquake that occurred in January 1994, resulting in $20 billion damage and 57 deaths, took months to assess, delaying recovery efforts for citizens and the city.
Along with the accelerated assessment and recovery, the entire process can be tracked until it is fully resolved. “Once data is reported using Accela ERS, the agency has a record of the problem and every action taken on it,” says Fabbro.
In addition to the most anticipated disaster, earthquakes, the system is ready to assist with any type of disaster affecting the area, including tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, and even wildfires.
Currently, eleven inspectors with laptops and Compaq iPaqs use the wireless system on a daily basis. The number of users that the city can deploy in the event of a disaster is essentially limitless. Training and drilling keeps staff confident that they will be able to proceed effectively should the need arise.