County To Evaluate Disaster Response After Deadly Metrolink Crash

In the wake of last week’s Metrolink train disaster in Chatsworth, Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called for a comprehensive report evaluating the overall disaster response to the accident. The report is expected to be submitted to the Board of Supervisors in 90 days.

The Board of Supervisors approved Knabe’s motion that directed the County’s Chief Executive Office, in close cooperation with Los Angeles City and with the support of the County Coroner, Mental Health, and other participating County departments, to evaluate the initial disaster response. The final report should provide findings, conclusions and recommendations regarding the following subjects: timeliness; speed and effectiveness with which incident command and control was established and maintained; suitability and sufficiency of resources to safely extract and rescue victims; adequacy and effectiveness of communications, including means to respond to concerned family members, press and public. The final report will be reviewed by the Emergency Preparedness Commission for the County and City of Los Angeles.

In addition, the County’s Emergency Medical Services Agency will provide findings, conclusions and strengthening recommendations on all aspects of the pre-hospital and hospital care response, including on-scene responders, supplies, equipment and communications, the triage and hospital assignment process, suitability and availability of patient transport, and of hospital emergency stations, operating rooms, beds, medical specialists and other patient care personnel.

Last Friday’s head-on collision of two trains should never have happened. The victims and families affected deserve and must be given an accurate and complete explanation of what went wrong, said Supervisor Knabe. Furthermore, it must be made evident to all of us in Southern California that the lessons learned translate into an improved, fail-safe rail traffic management system which can be counted on to avoid future train-to-train collisions, without exception.