Glendale, Nation Brace for Taliban Retaliation; National Guard Called Out

Helen Galvin
El Vaquero Staff Writer

For the second time this week, the FBI has issued a warning that additional attacks on the United States within the next few days are a great possibility, according to NBC News and statements from Attorney General Ashcroft.

Official agencies and U.S. government departments have begun removing documents from Web sites containing information on critical pipeline systems, water supply stations and power plants. General information on emergency plans and chemicals used at 15,000 sites nationwide are being cleared from the Environmental Protection Agency Web site.

As bombs are dropping in Afghanistan, Americans are on the alert in case of another terrorist attack and Glendale is more than ready.

Lt. Col. Terry Knight, Public Affairs Spokesman for the U.S. National Guard said that California has the largest National Guard unit in the country. Company D, 3rd Battalion for the 160th Infantry Company whose headquarters is located in Glendale, has been working in the Homeland Defense Plan patrolling LAX. Part of the company has been mobilized to Fort Carson Training Station in Colorado.

“The 3rd Battalion is part of the 40th Infantry Unit which is the eighth highest division in the country,” Knight said. “Many young men and women from Glendale have been just on home defense, now they are in training.”

A recent volunteer, who had to remain anonymous, said, “I was in active army duty before, but I’m pursuing a Ph.D. I didn’t want to have a long term of active duty during this, so I re-signed with the guards.”

Glendale City officials began implementing an evacuation program soon after the Sept. 11 attack to safe guard the citizens.

Sgt. Bruce Fox, of the Glendale Police Department, said that the police department is in “high tighten alert,” patrolling more often and areas where large groups of people congregate.” Police officials have visited sites that he could not divulge.

In conjunction with the city’s Emergency Operation Center 11 staff members, the police department has gone over the floor plans of city government buildings for evacuation of the mayor, city council members and employees.

“We have gone over our emergency procedures several times and feel we are well prepared,” Kristen Asp, Planning Associate in the city’s Planning Division, said.

All city emergency plans include working with local building security officers to draw up evacuation plans.

Fox concluded with the assurance that if needed, the police department could be on “tactical alert” in a matter of minutes. This means by a phone call, all police staff can process their internal and external personal to be on alert.

Glendale Fire Department has been preparing for a large disaster for sometime, according to Assistant Fire Chief Chris Gray. “Surprisingly, before Sept. 11, the fire department had been training in the Federal Weapons of Mass Distractions Program and we were about to as the city council for more funding for other programs.”

Right now, the city fire department is fully prepared in the case of a nuclear, chemical or biological warfare. Gray said that the fire department had not been aware that biochemical warfare would need as much preparation as it does. However coordination plans are in place in case of large causalities, bringing together paramedics, law enforcement and hospitals and their personal.
“The Federal Government began making preparations for an attack such as the one on Sept.11 beginning in the 1990’s in response to domestic and international attacks.”

The Glendale Fire Department continues to evaluate plans for any attack on the city. “It will never be business as usual after what happened on Sept. 11,” Gray concluded.