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City Endangers Public Safety after Earthquake over Policy & Politics

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On Tuesday, a few hours after the earthquake, the Los Angeles Fire Department put up a link on the "Highlights" section on the homepage of the city's website, pointing to their Earthquake and Disaster Preparedness Manual (.pdf)--a smart move since right after an earthquake is the best time to educate people on preparing for a future and considerably worse one (Tuesday's quake was only considered "moderate").

The next morning, the city's Information Technology Agency (ITA) took the Emergency Preparedness link down. Why? It was not because it was improper or that the information presented was incorrect. It was because there was "outdated info," according to an e-mail sent from ITA to the LAFD. What was outdated? A photo of the previous and retired Fire Chief, William Bamattre, instead of Douglas L. Barry, the current chief.

It's good to know that of all city agencies that could be making emergency preparedness info available, that the city's IT department is making political decisions on things that could help save people's lives at critical moments (Worst. Department. Ever.). No wonder there used to be an anonymously posted blog dedicated to the low morale of the IT department. At the very least, it's good to know that the Great Southern California ShakeOut, an earthquake event in November, is still listed on the city's homepage.

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Photo of a TARGET store by Daniel Powell via Flickr, used with permission