Terrorism and Bioterrorism: Is Pasadena Prepared?
Pasadena, like every other American city, felt the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and U.S. invasion of Iraq in
(1) Many city employees have been receiving specialized training in
emergency operations for the past several years. Additionally, the
Pasadena Public Health Department and the Pasadena Fire Department have
established a coalition of local organizations and agencies (Pasadena
Emergency Preparedness Partnership, or PEPP) to improve communitywide
coordination of emergency planning, preparedness and response. Coalition
participants, who meet on a regular basis, include the American Red Cross,
Huntington Memorial Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, several mental health
providers and advocates and others.
A. There is no evidence that any property in Pasadena is a target. There have been no threats or intelligence to suggest that these locations have been in any direct danger.
A. PWP has a multiple lock system at all critical water facilities. The perimeters are gated and the reservoirs and booster stations are fully enclosed. Access to facilities is limited to authorized personnel only. As part of normal operating procedures, field staff regularly monitor water facilities for potential tampering and maintenance needs, while our in-house Water Quality Lab tests daily for a multitude of contaminants. PWP also communicates with a network of critical agencies including Pasadena Police, Fire and Public Health departments, California Department of Health Services and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
A. A new voice-activated emergency notification system
purchased by the Pasadena Fire Department can send information prior to,
during and/or immediately after a disaster or emergency to listed and
unlisted residential and commercial telephone numbers. This system,
updated quarterly, works in conjunction with the reverse 9-1-1 directory.
A. Yes. The five threat levels were developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and they change from time to time depending on intelligence received by the CIA, FBI and other agencies. Be aware that Pasadena is often one level below that set by the federal government. The levels in Pasadena are:
I (Low/Green) Normal Operations
II (Guarded/Blue) Near Normal Operations
III (Elevated/Yellow) Increased Prevention and Readiness Preparations
IV (High/Orange) Local Tactical Alert Requiring Special Operations
V (Severe/Red) Full Tactical Mobilization
The current threat level can be found at the top of this page or by calling (626) 744-4000.
A. Bioterrorism is the use of biological agents,
including bacteria, viruses, parasites and biological toxins, to
intentionally produce disease or intoxication in a susceptible population
to meet terrorist aims.
A. Diseases associated with bioterrorism can be easily
spread from person to person, cause high mortality, cause public panic
and fear or require special action for public health preparedness. These
include anthrax, plague, smallpox, botulism, tularemia and the viral
hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. More information about bioterrorism
agents and diseases can be found at
A. In the highly unlikely event that this happens in
or near Pasadena, try to remain calm. If you are near the biological
substance, whether liquid or vapor, move away immediately and cover your
mouth with a folded, wet cloth or surgical mask. If you believe you have
been exposed, rinse your skin with warm, soapy water and go to a hospital
or doctor’s office immediately.
A. Check with your child’s school now so you can be aware of that school’s emergency preparedness plan. Make sure the school has updated information on you and other designated caregivers.
A. We are more likely to be impacted by an earthquake than a terrorist incident, but the basic emergency preparedness is the same:
(1) Every household should have a preparedness kit for earthquakes and other emergencies. The kit should be kept up to date and stocked with enough supplies for at least 72 hours of self-sufficiency.
(2) Stay informed; make your decisions and form your opinions based on fact instead of fear. Do not trust verbal and email rumors and do not rely on information found on web sites that are not associated with official agencies. Official web sites include www.dhs.gov/dhspublic (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), www.oes.ca.gov (State of California Department of Emergency Services), www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control) and www.redcross.org (American Red Cross).
A. A. Some stores and Web sites sell them. But before you buy one, make sure it has all the supplies recommended by the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross sells ready-made kits that are tax-deductible (call 626-799-0841, ext. 407 for more information).
A. Yes. Take some time now to anticipate the level of assistance you might need in the event of a disaster. For example, will you need help leaving your home or office? If electricity and/or water goes out, will that put you at immediate risk? Do you have a service animal that may need special care? Then create a network of friends, family members and co-workers who are able to assist you at a moment's notice, and develop a disaster plan with their help. Create a medical information list that includes the names and phone numbers of your doctors, medications, dosage instructions and other details and make sure your network has copies of the list. Ask your physician or pharmacist for a seven-day supply of medications to store in your emergency preparedness kit. Secure or remove furniture and other objects that may block your exit path if they topple. Visit http://www.prepare.org/disabilities/disabilities.htm or call the American Red Cross at (626) 799-0841 for more detailed information.
A. Please do not be duped into believing you need gas masks. In the extremely unlikely event of a public health emergency involving bioterrorism in this community, the Pasadena Public Health Department and Pasadena Fire Department are prepared to take immediate steps to address it. Gas masks are not designed to protect against biologic agents; they are designed to protect against chemical agents, but only if they are worn at the exact same time the chemical is released. Improper use, incorrect fitting and improper maintenance and incorrect fitting of gas masks can cause serious injury and even death, especially for infants, seniors and people with heart and/or lung problems.
A. A. Discuss your family’s disaster communications plan and make sure children know who to reach, how to reach them and
where to meet in the event of an emergency.
A. Be aware that you are not alone. It is reasonable for people to feel anxious about their personal safety. Share your feelings with other adults. If your fear stops you from doing your normal activities, help is available through local agencies and may be available from your health care provider. Call the city’s Public Affairs Office at (626) 744-4755 for a list of referrals.
A. Arrange for one or more neighborhood meetings and share this information with your neighbors. Make sure you and your neighbors share family emergency plans with each other. Be sure to check on your neighbors in the unlikely event of a terrorist or bioterrorist attack.
A. The Pasadena Fire Department offers emergency preparedness training for neighborhood associations and Neighborhood Watch groups. Call (626) 744-4675 to arrange for this service.
A. Within every neighborhood association there should be a number of Neighborhood Watch groups that can disseminate information, services and supplies to their blocks. Neighborhood Watch block captains work with Pasadena Police Department coordinators and can be important points of contact for other city staff and the American Red Cross. For more information about Neighborhood Watch, call (626) 744-4550.
A. Your preparedness efforts should be similar to that of families and neighborhoods. In addition, make sure you and your employees know how to contact each other in case of emergency; assign one employee from each shift to be the safety coordinator (the American Red Cross can provide training); install emergency lights that will turn on if the power goes out; use surge protectors, back up your computer data often and keep a backup tape off-site; discuss business continuity insurance with your agent.
Visit www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/prepared for more information on how to develop an emergency management plan for your business.
A. Send your questions to the city’s disaster services coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org; call the California Office of Emergency Services hotline at (800) 550-5234 for information in English and Spanish that addresses health and safety concerns.
Additional contact information:
Last Updated: 10/01/2010