Pasadena City Employees Rehearse Disaster Scenario Responses

In long-planned exercise, City employees walk through “tabletop” disaster response plan

Published : Friday, November 9, 2018 | 6:18 AM

Image courtesy City of Pasadena

The timing was only coincidence.

One day following the latest U.S. mass shooting in which 11 people, including a Sheriff’s deputy, were shot and killed in a bar in Thousand Oaks Wednesday evening, nearly 100 Pasadena City employees walked through a previously scheduled “tabletop” exercise Thursday in preparation for a disaster here.

“We have a city disaster plan that’s mandated,” said Pasadena Public Information Officer Lisa Derderian, who said the training program had been planned long in advance of Thursday.

“All cities have that mandated disaster plan,” she explained. “This is where we go through that checklist and make sure that we’re following procedures that are in our disaster plan.”

City employees are assigned to respond to emergency operation centers that come together for at least two hours and walk through a disaster scenario, said Derderian.

“We do a lot of the ‘What ifs,’ and how we need to communicate with each other, with our other personnel that are in the field, how we support our personnel that are in the field, and how we work with our layers on agencies so that we can best respond to incidents,” she added.

Derderian continued, “Today just reinforces how our disaster plan comes into play during a large scale incident, and this is where we’ll practice it during this exercise today.”

While Derderian would not reveal what type of disaster scenario employees were rehearsing for on Thursday, she did allow that the scenario was “weather-related.”

The City is vigilant, said Derderian.

Derderian also emphasized that the City’s leadership and first responders were affected by the Thousand Oaks shooting.

“Our hearts go out to all those that have been affected by this incident,” she said.

Police and fire personnel wore black mourning badges Thursday, while the City’s flags flew at half-staff.

“We will send support to the affected area or families if needed,” added Derderian.

While Thursday’s disaster exercise was not shooting-related, Pasadena Police Lieutenant Jason Clawson explained that police have an emergency active shooter plan ready if needed, among many other incident response plans.

“We have a deployment strategy,” said Clawson.

“There’s certain things that we do, we’ll show up to a crime scene and we’ll realize what needs to be done,” Clawson said. “Do we need to make a containment? Do we need to set a perimeter, need to call in other resources such as air resources, other sections within our department for either post incident management or sometimes mutual aid to other cities.”

Pasadena is part of a mutual aid program with 13 other local policing entities who can be notified in time of need to provide policing services, not just to the incident itself, but to normal calls for service that an incident will drain on the Department’s resources, explained Clawson.

During last week’s bomb threat and street closure on Raymond Avenue, for example, police assistance arrived from Glendale, Monrovia, and San Fernando police agencies, among others.

Pasadena’s police department is constantly preparing for all types of emergencies, said Clawson Thursday.

“We talk about this every day,” said Clawson.

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