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Arlington County, VA- "We were not equipped"

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  • Arlington County, VA- "We were not equipped"

    By LAUREN FRAYER
    Associated Press Writer
    ARLINGTON, Va. (AP) - Arlington County officials told emergency
    officials from around the country Wednesday that they were not
    equipped to handle the Pentagon disaster on Sept. 11, 2001.
    "We were a pre-disaster community, so our emergency structure
    was built around assumptions," Arlington County Fire Captain Mark
    Penn said at the end of a three-day conference on emergency
    preparedness held less than a mile from where a hijacked airliner
    slammed into the Pentagon.
    Now there are a whole new set of assumptions.
    "Did we think about terrorism? Yes. Did we think they could
    attack the Pentagon? Yes. But did we really plan to that level of
    attack? We did not," Penn said.
    Arlington County officials have spent nearly 23 months revamping
    emergency procedures, including transforming the county's crisis
    command center into a mobile unit and creating a new Citizens Corps
    Council to elicit public comment.
    The county also purchased new text-messaging software for use on
    PDAs and pagers. Arlington's first responders used to rely solely
    on cellular phones and land lines, many of which failed on Sept.
    11, 2001.
    The county is also looking for funding for a new emergency
    operations center and to purchase mass casualty equipment.
    Arlington County, the Department of Homeland Security and the
    Federal Bureau of Investigation co-hosted the conference entitled,
    "Local Response to Terrorism: Lessons Learned from the 9-11 Attack
    on the Pentagon." After Arlington officials presented their
    findings, emergency responders from around the nation asked federal
    officials for help in the event terrorists should strike their
    hometowns.
    According to the National Association of Counties, Arlington is
    the nation's smallest county, occupying an area slightly less than
    26 square miles. But for 10 days after American Airlines Flight 77
    hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001, county officials headed an
    incident command post to which more than 30 federal and local
    emergency agencies reported.
    That effort was no failure. The county's after-action report was
    used as a how-to disaster relief guide for authorities during the
    anthrax and sniper attacks, as well as by first responders in the
    Seattle area during a simulated dirty bomb drill, Arlington County
    Fire Chief Edward Plaugher said.


    (Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
    Proudly serving as the IACOJ Minister of Information & Propoganda!
    Be Safe! Lookouts-Awareness-Communications-Escape Routes-Safety Zones

    *Gathering Crust Since 1968*
    On the web at www.section2wildfire.com

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