A special program designed to activate civilian employees to support first responders during major emergencies lacks coherent procedures and is in need of more centralized organization, according to a report released Wednesday by City Controller Ron Galperin.
The city’s Disaster Service Worker program, which has never been activated, lacks a centralized database of employee contact information, such as cell and home phone numbers and personal emails to reach out to employees in an emergency, the report said.
“Los Angeles has weathered more than its fair share of destructive fires, floods and mudslides in recent years, and the threat of the Big One is always on the horizon,” Galperin said. “We have incredibly dedicated and talented city workers, and we need to be ready to deploy them to aid our first responders when a major disaster strikes. My report offers recommendations to improve the city’s Disaster Service Worker program and ensure that our employees are well-trained and ready to be called into action in case of emergency.”
Galperin also found that the city currently lacks coherent DSW deployment procedures, and has failed to properly train and prepare employees if they need to be called up to duty.
The report recommends the creation of a cloud-based database of employee contact information; the development of procedures to identify which employees to deploy first; the implementation regular DSW trainings for city employees; and test deployment during annual activation drills. City employees currently participate in annual emergency drills, but DSW deployment aren’t part of them.
“I want to thank Controller Galperin for focusing attention on this vital issue,” Personnel Department General Manager Wendy Macy said. “Planning and preparation in anticipation of an emergency are what saves lives and property. The Personnel Department takes its responsibility very seriously to support the ongoing work of the Emergency Management Department, both in preparation for an emergency as well as in the time of an emergency.”
The full report can be found at www.lacontroller.org/disasterserviceworker.
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