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I Love Happy Endings!


NEIGHBORHOODS LA-Last week, I wrote in CityWatch how disappointed I was in the Los Angeles Emergency Services Bureau (a division of LAFD).  I opined that they had gone back on their confirmation-to-participate in the two-day Community Emergency Relief Team  (CERT) Boot Camp  and were not really interested in partnering with the community in these areas.  I am happy to report that there was indeed a “rapid response” and it looks as if those who make the decisions at LAFD can now see the advantages of a Public Private-Sector Partnership for Disaster Awareness & Preparedness throughout the City of Los Angeles. 

The first – and definitely not last - Community Development Public Safety Coalition 2-day event was held this last weekend at the CA Army National Guard Armory in Van Nuys. Over 100 volunteers came to the San Fernando Valley from all over Southern California for a 2-day intensive Disaster Awareness, Preparedness & Hands-On Exercise. They came from Hemet, San Bernardino, Riverside, Orange County and South Central Los Angeles. 

The instructors were critical care nurses, Ham radio experts, chefs, Scout masters, LAFD personnel, Gas Company employees etc., all volunteering their time, money, expertise and commitment to make it happen. I am happy to say two LAFD Battalion Chiefs and several LAFD Captains & Inspectors also ”happened to be in the neighborhood” and brought their CERT equipment trailer which was very helpful especially in the “hands on” in the training. The program included, fire suppression, shutting off utilities, CPR / AED, search and rescue etc. 

I viewed a couple of exercises that were held - one involved a group learning how to safely lift a heavy object off of a victim, and the other was a group learning how to move someone on to a stretcher without furthering their injuries. Both excercises are quite helpful in an emergency! 

Battalion Chief Mark Akahoshi, Disaster Preparedness Section, LAFD was one of the group of officials who stopped by. He wrote this email to the event organizers, “It was a pleasure and honor to attend the Disaster Awareness and Preparedness Training Boot Camp. What a sight to see all of the people from different communities work together for a great cause. To have that many people volunteer to attend a two-day training is very impressive. Your staff ought to be very proud of their accomplishment. 

“The private and public sector working together to improve the quality of life in the local communities is a great program and we have to continue to make it grow and use innovating ideas from all walks of life to improve the program. 

“Keep up the good work. The community needs people like you to grow and improve." 

Traditionally, LAFDE CERT, was designed to help citizens better able to care for themselves, their families and fellow Angelenos during a community emergency or whole community dIsaster. It is a 171/2 hour program given over a seven (7) week period.  It is unrealistic, with everyone’s busy schedules, to expect many people to participate for seven weeks.  By compressing it into an intensive two-days  - more people can become community trained volunteers. 

This was a Neighborhood Council project initiated by the Public Safety Committee at Tarzana NC and subsequently joined by all of the District 3 Neighborhood Councils (CD3). It has been so successful that more than nineteen NC’s have indicated they want to be part of the program and have joined this Community Development Public Safety Coalition. Using a creative approach and hand-on training style, the Coalition was able to attract many more people than the previous long course. I am sure this was not lost on the LAFD. 

In the future, the CD3 PSC Coalition plans to hold quarterly mass intensive trainings. The trained group, comprised of those completing the quarterly training sessions, becomes part of an expanding public safety cadre that does exercises in each of our communities on a monthly basis. They share best and worst practices. The plans are to organize a Citywide urban area training exercise annually on the Tejon Ranch. 

This is an outstanding example of Neighborhood Councils impacting their community in a positive way. As I have asked in prior articles: Where are the big thinkers? Where is innovation coming from? How are we in the NC system going to contribute to the greatness of this City? Quite frankly I don’t give a damn about whether one posts future meeting notices in three or five public areas. This type of disaster preparedness training is the kind of thinking, innovation and teamwork we need.  

Warren Holden, TNC Board member and current Public Safety Chair; Roozy Moabery, Vice Chair; Elliott Durant, former TNC Board member and Chair of the Public Safety Committee; and Nathan Wolfstein, Chair of the Los Angeles Community Action Team (LA CAT) for Emergency & Disaster Preparedness, Councilmember Blumenfield’s office, and the CD3 Public Safety Coalition along with a team of other public safety devotees have successfully started a movement. 

I asked Warren Holden how he could find the time to donate so much time and passion to this project. as well as other work and family activities in his life. He responded by saying, “The need to serve is a powerful pull. It doesn't matter how we get to the opportunity. When given a chance to be of value to others, most people jump at it. It’s kind of like what we all wanted to be when we grew up... really good at something useful, and appreciated for it. It has nothing to do with philosophy, race, political persuasion or religious beliefs. This past weekend both trainer and trainee chose to serve, to go outside of their comfort zone, and become more useful to the community as a whole”. 

Other NC’s and organizations that want to take part in this Public Safety endeavor may reach the team at www.CD3-PSC.com 

As always appreciate your comments


(Denyse Selesnick is a contributor to CityWatch covering policies, activities and foibles in NC Land, Co-Chair of the LA Neighborhood Congress Program Committee and a stakeholder in the Tarzana Neighborhood Council. She may be reached at [email protected].) 







Vol 12 Issue 31

Pub: Apr 15, 2014


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