Grand Jury Investigates Humboldt County Courthouse Emergency Plan

This is a press release from the Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury:

Humboldt County Seal 2017 featureThis is the first report from the 2017-2018 Humboldt County Civil Grand Jury.  Beginning this year, the Court implemented a new policy regarding the release of Grand Jury reports during June election years.  The policy allows the release of reports until the second Monday in February; reports completed subsequent to that date must be released after the June election.

This first report focuses on emergency planning for the Humboldt County Courthouse and is titled:

Know Where to Run, Know Where to Hide:

Humboldt County Courthouse Emergency Plan

The Grand Jury’s interest centered on the county’s preparedness for emergency response within its facilities.  Due to time constraints, the investigation focused on the Humboldt County Courthouse, an apt choice given that approximately 1,500 people either work in or visit the courthouse on an average day.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that any employer with more than ten workers have an Emergency Action Plan.  The Grand Jury learned that our county’s Emergency Action Plan for the Humboldt County Courthouse was last modified in 2001 and contains outdated personnel assignments, is applied inconsistently, and is unknown by many employees.  In addition, emergency evacuation signage is missing from many locations within the courthouse.  These deficiencies expose both county employees and visitors to a higher risk of injury or death were a crisis to occur.

Although the Grand Jury limited our investigation to the courthouse, the issues we uncovered raise concerns regarding the status of emergency planning at other owned or leased county facilities.

The report offers a number of recommendations which, if implemented, would significantly improve the level of emergency preparedness at the courthouse, creating a more safe and secure environment for employees and the thousands of individuals who visit the facility each year.

The full report is attached.Know Where to Run, Know Where to Hide- Humboldt County Courthouse Emergency Plan

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