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.
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
is no specific information that Burbank is a target for terrorist
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
Officials reviewed plans created following Sept. 11, and concluded the provisions were still sufficient to handle a possible event,
“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
The renovated Emergency Operations Center is also up and running.
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
In addition, Barone said fire officials are adding links to the
department’s Web site with more information about disaster