Council will be briefed on anti-terrorism plans

Balto. County police, fire, health officials will speak

November 05, 2001|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County police and fire chiefs and the director of the health department will brief the County Council on terrorism preparedness tonight in an effort to reassure the public and provide information about what to do in an emergency.

Since the terrorist attacks Sept. 11, members of these departments have been meeting with the county executive to coordinate preparedness planning. The briefing will help to ensure that council members have the appropriate answers about the county's efforts when questioned by constituents, said Elise Armacost, spokeswoman for County Executive C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger.

Council members will be given an informal briefing over dinner, and the three department heads will make a formal 10-minute presentation at the beginning of tonight's council meeting, which will be shown countywide on cable television.

"People are concerned, and we understand that," said Council Chairman Stephen G. Samuel Moxley. "We know from our briefings that we are prepared, but people want some specific answers."

Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan will explain how the department has put patrol officers on the lookout for warnings of an attack, cooperated with other jurisdictions and the federal government in investigations, and trained in emergency procedures.

"We are aware, and we are at work," said department spokesman Bill Toohey.

Dr. Michelle Leverett, director of the Department of Health, said she'll explain how the county would work with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the state health department to provide treatment in the event of a biological attack. She will also discuss instructions given to doctors for detecting anthrax symptoms and how the department is watching for signs of a covert attack.

"We haven't heard from people who were particularly panicked, but certainly people want to try to sort out what all this information they're getting from CNN and other 24-hour news channels means to them," Leverett said.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the council chambers on the second floor of the county courthouse in Towson. The meeting will also be shown live on Comcast channel 25.

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