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Santa Monica to Help County Prepare for Bioterrorism Attacks

Bob Kronovetrealty
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Santa Monica

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By Jorge Casuso

January 22, 2021 -- Santa Monica will use the remainder of a $1.3 million grant from Los Angeles County to help area fire chiefs prepare for a potential bioterrorist emergency.

The City Council on Tuesday is expected to approve a $302,000 contract with Three Four Three, LLC to develop and conduct Haz Mat specialty courses for 31 fire chiefs in the County under the Regional Training Group (RTG).

The funding comes from the balance of a $1,322,000 County grant bankrolled by Measure B, a 2002 ballot initiative that taxes property owners three cents per square foot of improvements.

The funds help the County prepare and expand its trauma network to better respond to medical emergencies and biological or chemical terrorism.

The course Santa Monica will offer "is targeted towards specific groups of emergency responders including firefighters and hazardous materials personnel at the technician and specialist levels," according to City staff.

"This training will also act as Train-the-Trainer course to build the capacity for continuous training of new emergency responders within the county."

The RTG is responsible for directly providing the training, which will not impact SMFD staffing, City staff said.

The City's Fire Department "will benefit from the training courses to improve the specialty bioterrorism readiness and response as one of the county’s fourteen regional fire agencies Hazardous Materials Teams," staff said.

According to a the County's "Bioterrorism Preparedness and response" pamphlet, bioterrorism (BT) is the use of biological agents to cause illness to meet terrorist aims.

"Bioterrorism agents include living microorganisms (bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and fungi) and toxins (chemicals) made by microorganisms, plants or animals."

The Santa Monica Fire Department used $1,020,000 of the most recent $1,322,000 Measure B grant "for video and curriculum development services of the county-wide multi-disciplinary bioterrorism content."

Three Four Three, LLC was one of two firms interviewed by "a team of experts in Fire service," staff said.

The company has more than 30 years experience in the Fire Service and is "a subject matter expert in Fire HazMat training," staff said.

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