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Homeland Security Office Working To Update San Diego's Emergency Plans

John Valencia, the director of San Diego's Office of Homeland Security, works in his office on Feb. 18, 2015.
Nicholas McVicker
John Valencia, the director of San Diego's Office of Homeland Security, works in his office on Feb. 18, 2015.

Homeland Security Office Working To Update San Diego’s Emergency Plans
Many city of San Diego departments have incomplete emergency plans. The city's Office of Homeland Security is working to update those plans, but changes won't come until after this summer.

The director of San Diego's Office of Homeland Security answered questions from elected officials Wednesday about his progress in helping city departments update their emergency plans.

Homeland Security Audit
A July 2014 audit of San Diego's Office of Homeland Security.
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An audit released last summer found many departments had outdated or inaccurate information in their emergency plans. As a result of the audit, John Valencia, the city's homeland security director, will report quarterly to the City Council's public safety committee on his progress updating those plans. He made his first report on Wednesday.


One area the audit singled out for improvement was departments' Continuity of Operations Plans. They outline how each department will go on performing its functions during and after a disaster, including an alternate spot to operate from if the usual location can’t be accessed.

The audit found that many departments hadn’t picked a site or picked locations that didn’t have enough access to transportation, food, water, or medical facilities, or were too close to their normal location. It also found that multiple departments name the same location as their backup site, and that there’s no system to decide which department gets priority.

City Councilman Todd Gloria asked Valencia about his progress in updating those plans.

Valencia said that by June he'd publish a schedule of when each department's plan would be updated.

"That’s the schedule going forward to create the plans, right?" Gloria asked.


Valencia said that was correct, but that he hoped the schedule would be finished before June.

Gloria said he was anxious to see the progress.

"You mentioned the commitment of the city to homeland security," he said to Valencia. "I think one way for the council to demonstrate that same level of commitment is to keep close eye on the product that comes out and certainly providing feedback to our staff if we like them, if we don’t."

Valencia said his office was also doing assessments of threats and hazards in each council district, and would publish a schedule in the next 30 days for when those will be complete.

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