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Orange County

County Prepares to Take Command in a Crisis

Safety: Sheriff's Department mobile trailers are available to local police and fire agencies.

April 11, 2002|DAVE McKIBBEN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Hoping to better prepare county law enforcement agencies for a terrorist incident or natural disaster, the Orange County Sheriff's Department rolled out two mobile command trailers Wednesday.

The custom 53-foot expandable trailers will be used as communication centers during terrorist acts, civil unrest, earthquakes, floods or major fires.

The trailers, which together cost $1.75 million, were ordered before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and are ready to be deployed. "I think 9/11 shows what can happen if you don't have something like this in place," Sheriff's Department spokesman Jon Fleischman said.

"As we've seen in New York City, things can get crazy in a hurry. They didn't have the in- frastructure necessary, so they had to commandeer a post office for their command center. The whole goal is to be prepared for the unexpected."

The command and communication centers will be made available to all Orange County police departments and agencies such as the Orange County Fire Authority.

"In case of a major fire, the Orange County Fire Authority could establish a perimeter around the fire, communicate with hospitals about the number of injured people and also talk to John Wayne Airport about a possible hazard to airplanes," Fleischman said.

A 50-inch exterior plasma screen can give visual aid to personnel outside the trailer.

"You can do like John Madden football," Fleischman said. "You write on a monitor and show people outside how you want them deployed."

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