Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
Ready, willing and able are the members of the new and improved emergency response team.

by  Jeanne Bonfilio
Issue Date: 06/2007

District 7 takes a pro-active approach to emergency response and readiness.

As part of the Caltrans strategic emergency preparedness plan, District 7 has recently implemented comprehensive improvements and staffing additions to the Emergency Response Team – a team who is ready, willing and able to respond and assist in the event of an emergency at the District 7 Office Building (DOB). 


Thousands of people occupy the DOB daily.  In addition to employees, Caltrans shares its facility with the Los Angeles Department of Transportation, a growing child care center (Tiny DOTS), Begin’s Café (a public cafeteria), the California Bear Credit Union, busy public conference rooms, as well as a myriad of filming companies, visitors and guests.  “We work in a very active, growing and changing facility,” said Jim Hammer, Deputy District Director for Administration.   “Our population and working environment is very diverse and expanding.  A new and improved working environment required a new and improved Emergency Response Team, working together on a pro-active approach to emergency response and readiness. ”


As part of this pro-active approach, the team assembles at weekly strategic meetings, as well as partnering with tenants.  Members are specially-trained to assist disabled persons and anyone with special needs during an emergency or evacuation.  In addition, there are new restroom monitors, stairwells monitors, floor wardens and back-ups.  “We have been working closely to form and develop the team, to equip the team, to train the team and to orient the team to be ready to respond in the event of a disaster or emergency,” explained Hammer.  All members are equipped with the tools needed to respond in an emergency situation including hard hats, special two-way radios, vests, and first-aid kits to respond to minor medical needs, if needed.


Hammer said that Caltrans is also studying the possibility of future Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) classes.  He is researching the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross to learn what other types of emergency response training is available.  He is also exploring and gathering information on the feasibility of installing cardiac defibrillators on site.


“We have been working very hard to pull this comprehensive team together to best facilitate emergency response, readiness and evacuations,” concluded Hammer.  “We have taken proactive steps to be prepared and confident to care for all of the needs of our tenants, employees and guests.  And I want to thank every one of our dedicated Emergency Response Team members for their commitment and dedication to public safety.”