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City prepares for threat of terrorist attacks

By John Geluardi\, Daily Planet staff
Monday November 19, 2001

In another sign of how the world has changed since Sept. 11, the City Council approved an update Tuesday that will include terrorist attacks in Berkeley’s Disaster Preparedness Plan. 

The recommendation from Mayor Shirley Dean calls for local agencies, including the city’s fire, police and health departments, to be trained and equipped to respond to nuclear, chemical and biochemical terrorist attacks. 

“Traditionally the Disaster Preparedness Plan has covered fires and natural disasters,” said Arrietta Chakos, chief of staff to the City Manager’s Office. “Now cities across the country are upgrading their plans to include terrorism.” 

The recommendation, which was unanimously approved by the council, asks the city manager, the Disaster Council and the Fire Safety Commission to develop additional disaster responses and protocols. 

The five-part recommendation was the result of the United States Conference of Mayors in late October. Dean attended the conference with high-ranking city officials from the city manager’s office and police, fire and health departments. Dean said the most predominant issue discussed during the conference was that local agencies will be the first responders to possible terrorist attacks. 

“The action plan formulated at the conference recognizes that cities are in a precarious [situation] in which both people within our borders and our troops on foreign soil are at risk,” Dean wrote in her recommendation report. 

Some of the steps likely to be taken are emergency response training, procurement of v