Mayor: Communications improved after LAX shooting 

click to enlarge Paul Ciancia
  • AP Photo/FBI, File
  • This photo provided by the FBI shows Paul Ciancia, 23. Ciancia, charged with fatally shooting a Transportation Security Administration screener and wounding three other people at Los Angeles International Airport, Nov. 1, 2013. Thousands of Los Angeles International Airport workers had no idea what to do when this gunman opened fire last year or how to help because they were inadequately trained to deal with an emergency, according to a union report obtained Friday March 14, 2014.

Mayor Eric Garcetti says last year's deadly shooting at Los Angeles International Airport exposed shortcomings in the airport's emergency communications infrastructure that have been addressed.

Garcetti made the comments Tuesday upon the release of a report based on findings by several agencies that responded to the Nov. 1 shooting and a review of camera footage, dispatch logs and 911 calls.

The mayor said all LAX telephones and panic alarms now transmit location information to dispatchers when an emergency call is made.

The report says police and fire commanders arrived on the scene with no idea where to go or what the others were doing.

Sean Burton, president of the board of airport commissioners, says the facility needs additional emergency management staff, more training, new equipment and better agreements with law enforcement.

Here are key details of a report prepared for city airport commissioners about a Nov. 1 shooting that killed a Transportation Security Administration agent at Los Angeles International Airport and wounded three other people before a suspect was shot and arrested:

--An emergency "red phone" picked up by a TSA supervisor at the scene could not display its location to the airport police dispatcher who answered, and an airport-wide audit of red phones and panic buttons found some weren't working.

--Airport police dispatchers were overwhelmed with calls.

--Police and fire officials initially set up multiple command posts that didn't unify for 45 minutes. The command post site was not well chosen and could have endangered responders. Basic supplies including airport plans, maps and aerial photos were lacking.

--Incompatible radio systems hindered response among roughly 20 agencies, and there was no effective method for keeping track of how and where responders were being used. Internal alerts were not sent to all groups of responders. Vehicles left on airport roadways by responders had to be towed.

--The airport has no central public announcement system to communicate information. The airport was not aware of its ability to provide alerts to peoples' cellphones.

--Leadership roles among airport staffers were not properly delineated and those at the airport's emergency operations center lacked sufficient training and were not high enough in rank to get results. Airport officials in the center had nearly no communications with officials at the command post. The airport's emergency management program isn't well defined or widely understood or respected across the agency.

--Airport workers need training in emergency procedures such as evacuations, especially for people with special needs.

--A Fire Department program to train tactical medics to enter danger zones to help victims hadn't been implemented at the time.

--The effectiveness of random patrols by airport police officers is unclear.

--Security cameras need upgrades and possibly technological enhancements.

--Resumption of airport operations was not a high enough priority.

--Law enforcement securing the perimeter weren't given guidance, hindering access by responders, the Red Cross, flight crews, ground crews and other workers. The airport executive director and head of media relations weren't allowed in for a time.

--There have been six risk assessments of the airport in the past decade but no centralized tracking of what has or hasn't been resolved.

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