The new emergency preparedness chief will coordinate preparation for and response to natural and man-made disasters. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, joined by Council-members Jack Weiss and Tom LaBonge, Fire Chief Douglas Barry and LAPD Deputy Chief Michael Downing, named African American Fire Captain James Featherstone as the new general manager for the City’s Emergency Preparedness Department.
“With the threat of fires, earthquakes and terrorist attacks, it’s not a question of if a wide-scale emergency will strike Los Angeles, it’s a question of when,” Mayor Villaraigosa said. “James Featherstone has the training, experience and drive to prepare our city for times of emergency and to serve our city in times of crisis.” Featherstone brings over two decades of experience in emergency management and fire prevention to the Emergency Preparedness Department. An alumnus of the National Fire Academy, his has worked for nearly 20 years at all levels of the Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD); in leadership positions within the United Firefighters of Los Angeles; in service in the United States Navy; and as Interim Assistant General Manager of the City’s Emergency Preparedness Department.
Featherstone also participated in the response to the 1992 riots, the 1993 firestorm and the 1994 Northridge Earthquake. In the spring of 2000, he was selected as a Fire Plans Officer for the Democratic National Convention and he was instrumental in the development of LAFD’s Operation and Tactical Plans for the event. “The need for emergency preparedness has changed completely since the attacks of 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina, and there is more to readiness than transistor radios and canned food,” said Councilmember Weiss, who chairs the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “Guided by Jim Featherstone’s experience and leadership, the City will be better prepared for all types of emergencies.”
Featherstone is also a member of United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112, where he served on the Executive Board, as a Negotiation Team Member for 19 years, and as Chief Negotiator for five years. Featherstone is also a Member and past Executive Board Member of the Stentorians of Los Angeles, which represents African Americans in the Fire Service.
LA’s Emergency Preparedness Department works with LAFD, LAPD and other law enforcement and emergency management agencies to prevent and respond to natural, man-made and technological disasters. As head of the department, Featherstone will be responsible for developing and implementing innovative strategies to prepare the City for emergencies. A native of Washington D.C. and veteran of the United States Navy, James G. Featherstone began his years of service to the City of Los Angeles in 1986 with the Fire Department. In January 2006, Jim was selected as the Interim Assistant General Manager of L.A.’s Emergency Preparedness Department. In this role, he spearheaded a reorganization of the department.
While working for the LAFD, Featherstone served tours as a department public information officer, academy instructor, Chief Officer’s Staff Assistant, station commander, and task force commander. In 2004, Featherstone was transferred to the LAFD Tactical Training Section. As the section’s Tactical Training Officer he oversaw all WMD training, simulations and exercises. Over the course of three years, he developed and led numerous homeland security exercise and evaluation efforts in Greater Los Angeles.
Featherstone is a veteran of the 1992 Civil Disturbance, 1993 Firestorm, the 1994 Northridge Earthquake, and numerous local major emergencies and regional campaign incidents. In the spring of 2000, Featherstone was selected as a Fire Plans Officer for the 2000 Democratic National Convention (DNC). He was instrumental in the development of the fire department’s Operation and Tactical Plans. During the operational phase of the DNC, Featherstone was assigned as the Metro Area Command Plans Officer.
An alumnus of the National Fire Academy (NFA), Featherstone completed the NFA’s residence curriculum of Incident Management courses. He also works as an Adjunct Instructor at the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center at Texas A&M University. Professional studies and field experience in command and control and company operations gave him a solid foundation in both emergency planning and incident management.