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UPDATED: Antonovich blasts county for poor emergency notification

Supervisor upset that officials took five days to post Station Fire-related information on Web site

Posted: September 1, 2009 10:36 p.m.
Updated: September 2, 2009 6:30 a.m.
County Supervisor Michael Antonovich criticized Los Angeles County public relations personnel Tuesday for failing to feed the public fire information through the county Web site during recent catastrophic wildfires.

It took the county five days to begin posting information about the Station Fire on the Web site, Antonovich said.

The Station Fire has blackened more than 230 square miles of national forest, destroyed 64 buildings, killed two Los Angeles County firefighters and injured at least three civilians.

Antonovich represents the area devastated in the Station Fire and took time during Tuesday's Board of Supervisors meeting to blast the county's public information office for inaction during the early days of the fire.

"Information on evacuation orders and evacuation shelters has not been readily available to the impacted communities," he said.

"Several impacted cities provided hourly updates to the communities they serve via their Web sites and phone notification systems.
The county's Public Information Office has the capability to provide the same level of service to its residents but failed to do so during this incident."

Antonovich requested a review of the county's Public Information Office by Los Angeles County Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka, said Ali Navid, Antonovich's spokesman.

The report is due back to supervisors in two weeks, Navid added.

Antonovich also blasted the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management for a major folly in employing a 911 phone alert in La Canada Flintridge.

A 911 phone alert sent Monday prompted thousands of residents in La Canada Flintridge to evacuate.

"The problem was: They did not need to evacuate," Navid said.

The report due back by the Sept. 15 Board of Supervisors meeting will also address the errant 911 phone alerts, Navid added.


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