Grand Jury Report Raps Lack of Preparedness for Disasters

From Associated Press

An earthquake, explosion or similar catastrophe could leave downtown office workers stranded for days without food, water or guidance, according to a Los Angeles County Grand Jury committee report released Thursday.

The study criticized the lack of disaster preparedness and spurred the jurors to stock the grand jury room with emergency food, water and medical supplies, Chairman Don Squires said.

The report focused on four county buildings in the Civic Center and concluded that thousands of workers and visitors could be marooned for two or three days, unable to go home or even contact their families.

"Where is the first-aid team, the search-and-rescue team, the floor warden?" Squires asked in an interview.

Ken Raske, assistant director of the county Disaster Services Department, said Thursday that officials had not yet read the report.

The committee, which submitted its report May 27 to the Board of Supervisors but released it to the public Thursday, found no clear plan in the 12 disaster manuals established for the County Courthouse, Hall of Administration, Hall of Records and Criminal Courts Building.

No teams or operations center have been formed to coordinate disaster efforts, the report said, and there are no pamphlets, posters, brochures or signs in the buildings to direct visitors in case of an emergency.

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