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City tightens security

Ben Godar

As American forces wage war in Iraq, city officials are responding by

doing everything from engaging in disaster drills to tying yellow

ribbons around trees.

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The potential danger of terrorist attacks as a result of U.S.

military action overseas prompted the Burbank Police Department to

increase its staffing, but Sgt. Bruce Speirs declined to say how many

extra officers are in the field. He emphasized, however, that there

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is no specific information that Burbank is a target for terrorist

acts.

In addition to more cops on patrol, Speirs said police officers

are making themselves more visible and focusing their attention on

locations that could be targets, such as the airport and film

studios.

Officials reviewed plans created following Sept. 11, and concluded the provisions were still sufficient to handle a possible event,

Speirs said.

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“We’re keeping up on what’s going on and are confident in our

ability to respond to an incident,” he said.

Various emergency responders, including the Fire Department’s

hazardous- materials team and emergency- operations teams, have been

doing extra training, said Fire Capt. Ron Barone, the city’s acting

disaster-preparedness coordinator. The drills have been underway for

several weeks.

The renovated Emergency Operations Center is also up and running.

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The EOC, at the Fire Training Center at 1845 Ontario St., is where

city leaders gather in the event of any disaster.

Emergency planning is not the only war-related activity going on

in the city. American flags were hung from the Olive Street overpass

at the Golden State (5) Freeway, and city workers tied yellow ribbons

around trees outside city buildings.

While police said they have received a few calls from concerned

citizens, fear of chemical or biological attacks have not led to

increased sales at Supply Sergeant, an army surplus store at 503 N.

Victory Blvd., worker John Cordier said.

Other than the sale of a couple of gas masks, Cordier said there

has been no increased demand for survival items.

“I think most people pretty much got what they needed after 9/11,”

he said. “That’s when it was really crazy.”

For people who are concerned, Barone recommended they not panic

and stock up on supplies like gas masks and duct tape. Instead, he

suggested residents make the type of preparations they would for an

earthquake. That includes keeping a radio and flashlights, as well as

enough batteries, food, water and medication, to last 72 hours, he

said.

In addition, Barone said fire officials are adding links to the

department’s Web site with more information about disaster

preparedness.


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