DOWNEY - Many reports of a suspicious odor, in the area of Downey east of the Rio Hondo River and south of Firestone Bouleavard, were received by the Downey Fire and Police Communications Centers on Sunday evening around 7 p.m.The Fire Department responded and investigated a number of the complaints. The investigation effort did not lead to the identification of the actual substance involved or the exact location of the source. The odor is believed to have originated west of Downey and drifted in with the typical evening air-flow. The Air Quality Management District (AQMD) was requested by the Fire Department and responded on Sunday night. The AQMD investigates suspicious odor reports and follows-thru on the enforcement of air-quality infractions, when they are found. As of late Wednesday afternoon, the AQMD has not issued any findings from their recent investigation. The potential health and safety problems with suspicious and chemical odor incidents require the attention of a number of governmental agencies. Suspicious odor incidents can tie-up communications centers that may already be busy dispatching other emergencies and consume a considerable number of public safety resources. City staff members are following up on the problem. The AQMD will respond to complaints from the public as well. Residents and business owners are urged to call 1-800-CUT-SMOG (1-800-288-7664) when they believe they detect a suspicious odor. Residents should also contact the Fire Department using the 911 phone system when they detect a chemical or suspicious odor. AQMD investigators will respond to the reports of problems in a timely manner. The Gas Company should be notified when natural gas is detected. The reverse 911 system was used on Sunday evening to notify residents of the problem in the affected area. The residents notified had previously signed up for non-emergency messages through the city website. Had the suspicious odor been found to be an emergency situation requiring immediate notification of the residents, the reverse 911 system would have been used to call the entire neighborhood. Residents, business owners and employees are all welcome to opt-in to the reverse 911 system and provide their cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses for use in either emergency and/or non-emergency situations. Cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses are not provided for the reverse 911 system by the individual carriers. Those interested in the opt-in process should access the city website (www.downeyca.org) and click on the 'quick links' button located at the top of the webpage. Once the link opens, click on the 'citizen alert' line.
********** Published: September 23, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 23