CARLETON CRONIN: Maui disaster should put WeHo on notice

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There is a continuing discussion about how the well-planned emergency notification process failed when it was most needed. Now, many of the affected residents in Maui are looking for someone to blame for the failure and the ensuing tragedy. It seems to be human nature to find a source of error or supposed malfeasance to blame for events we cannot control. Living in the midst of a forest can be a delight, but one must accept all the consequences of this choice. In my opinion, there are certain places where humans should not be allowed to live—or if they do, they should do so at their own risk.

There is an ongoing discussion regarding the lack of official warning via a much-vaunted siren system, although text messages and voice alerts were sent to smartphones and computers. That these arrived during the chaos underscores the weakness of such a warning system. I am reminded that West Hollywood once had two air raid sirens, remnants of the civil defense program of World War II. One each was situated in West Hollywood Park and Plummer Park. Beverly Hills also had at least one siren, which sounded at noon every day for several years in the 1970s. Such simple devices, easily activated, were removed without comment or discussion. Think about it: They could be heard above the city din at any time of day or night with an easy-to-remember code to alert all within hearing. Is it much too simple for our tech-happy time?

This line of thought brings me to the question: What are WeHo’s emergency management plans? The last time I was privileged to know, I found that City Hall and other city venues were well covered and protected, but not a word was said about the residents’, businesses’, and visitors’ safety. Going further back in time, the city sponsored an active CERT program, which had stocked and maintained two shipping containers of supplies and equipment, such as emergency lighting and electric generators, ready to be put into service by CERT volunteers—night or day. What do we have today?

Public safety is not just about providing sworn police officers to patrol our city; it also means providing life and health support during disasters by professionally trained city employees and volunteers. Without that backup, we will be as at risk as the Maui residents in their recent firestorm.

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About Carleton Cronin
Carleton Cronin and his wife, Toby Ann, have lived in West Hollywood since 1974. They have raised four sons here, and Cronin has long been an astute observer of civic life. Carleton publishes the blog crobarcogito.blogspot.com

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michaelz
michaelz
7 months ago

Thank you Carl……
You’re always the voice of reason….

hifi5000
hifi5000
7 months ago

I think because West Hollywood is surrounded by a soulless city,Los Angeles,any emergency planning was left up that other city.There hasn’t been a big event where any part of West Hollywood had to be evacuated in the last 30 years that I can think of.

Maybe it is time to reactivate CERT training and reemphasize emergency planning for residents. It will be tough as the city as many tenants that stay for a few years and then move out.

Thanks Carleton
Thanks Carleton
7 months ago
Reply to  hifi5000

Additionally, back east when I was a child, nearly every resident in our beautiful country environment obtained Indian Tanks, stored in one’s garage for fighting fires should the need be and had training so they could operate as trained volunteers during any eventuality. Two or three incidents occurred which were quickly handled and saved thousands of acres of precious watershed land from burning to a crisp.

In those days it was called CIVIC RESPONSIBILITY something few are acquainted with today.

Thanks Carleton
Thanks Carleton
7 months ago

Being prepared is every resident’s critical responsibility. When if dear grand dame building owner was alive we had regular fire drills and inspections by the fire department because she cared greatly fir her residents and her divine building.

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