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Emergency Preparedness

December 27, 2008 | Jia-Rui Chong
The largest earthquake drill in U.S. history, held last month in Southern California, found some serious gaps in local earthquake planning, prompting utility companies, emergency managers and others to rethink their planning for a major temblor. The Great Southern California Shakeout was the first time so many agencies and earthquake officials teamed up to examine what would happen if a huge quake struck the region, in this case a 7.8 magnitude temblor.
November 25, 2008 | Tony Barboza and Tami Abdollah, Barboza and Abdollah are Times staff writers.
As Southern California braced for heavy rainstorms that could bring flooding, Yorba Linda officials said Monday that they plan to use a reverse 911 system to warn residents about potential mudslides this week, even though the network didn't work properly during the recent wildfire. The system called some residents long after the Nov. 15 blaze had swept through their neighborhoods.
November 21, 2008 | Phil Willon
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa on Thursday announced a restructuring of the city's emergency management operations, saying the city's blueprint for responding to disasters has not changed since the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Under one of the proposed changes, the city authority that handles emergency preparedness would be chaired by the general manager of the city's Emergency Management Department, instead of the Los Angeles police chief as is the case now. The changes would require approval by the City Council.
September 22, 2008 | Cyndia Zwahlen, Special to The Times
Local emergency responders are offering disaster preparation training priced just right for small-business owners: It costs little or nothing. They hope the lifesaving skills they teach will help more people cope with a major disaster when help from police, fire or medical personnel may be unavailable for hours or days. "If you can be prepared, then when disaster hits you are not going to be a victim, you are going to be part of the solution," said Capt.
September 14, 2008 | Kate Linthicum, Times Staff Writer
On a cool winter night in 1956, a passenger train on its way to San Diego lurched off a curve near the Los Angeles River, killing 30 people and injuring 130. It was Los Angeles' deadliest rail disaster. The Santa Fe Railway train was traveling too fast that night, Jan. 22, an investigation later determined. The train's engineer admitted to speeding. The scene at the crash site -- southeast of downtown at the Redondo junction near Washington Boulevard and Soto Street -- was chaotic.
September 11, 2008 | David Zucchino, Times Staff Writer
With Hurricane Ike gathering strength over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, authorities ordered mandatory or voluntary evacuations in four low-lying counties along the Texas coast as frail and elderly residents were bused to safety inland. Ike barreled across the gulf past Cuba, strengthening into a Category 2 hurricane with maximum winds near 100 mph. Forecasters predicted the storm would become a Category 3 -- possibly a Category 4 -- before making landfall somewhere between Corpus Christi and Houston early Saturday.
September 8, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Government agencies should better coordinate their response to increased toxic emissions from Kilauea volcano, the Environmental Protection Agency's on-scene coordinator said. "There's a huge increase in the amount of a hazardous substance that's being released into the environment," said Janet Yocum of the EPA. "Not only does this affect the Big Island, it affects the entire state." The first eruption at Kilauea's crater since 1924 has brought an increase in volcanic gas emissions since March.
September 2, 2008 | Faye Fiore, Times Staff Writer
Three years after disgracing itself with a bungled response to Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency acknowledged Monday, as it mobilized against the force of Gustav, that it had learned some lessons. Nearly 2 million Gulf Coast residents were evacuated to shelters by plane, train and bus hours before Hurricane Gustav hit Louisiana. Helicopters sat on the fringes to start search-and-rescue efforts as soon as the skies cleared. Crates of food, water and blankets were at the ready -- all in stark contrast to the too-little-too-late response to Katrina that left thousands stranded, about 1,800 dead and 90,000 square miles devastated.
September 1, 2008 | David Zucchino and Richard Fausset, Times Staff Writers
Hurricane Gustav neared the Gulf Coast early today with the first bands of its destructive rage, winds slightly weakened but still potent enough to spark a massive all-day exodus that all but emptied New Orleans and clogged Southern highways with nearly 2 million evacuees. Spread 440 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, the storm had degraded slightly from the Category 4 status reached over the weekend, weather forecasters said. Officials at the National Hurricane Center in Miami said Gustav would reach landfall in the daylight hours today as a Category 3 storm, with gusts of up to 127 miles per hour and an "extremely dangerous" storm surge that could exceed 14 feet over normal tide levels.
August 29, 2008 | Miguel Bustillo, Times Staff Writer
Fear and foreboding gripped this still-mending city Thursday as a potential Category 3 hurricane whirled toward the Gulf Coast on the eve of Hurricane Katrina's three-year anniversary. Tropical Storm Gustav, which was lashing Jamaica after Haitian officials said it had killed 51 people there, was still almost five days away from the Crescent City, according to the National Hurricane Center. Projections varied greatly, putting its path anywhere from the Florida panhandle to southeastern Texas by Tuesday.
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