In an ongoing effort to focus more deeply on the elements of the La Cañada Flintridge General Plan that relate to public safety, Public Safety Commission Chair Andy Beattie and Commissioner Olivia Brown prepared an agenda for the May commission meeting on emergency preparedness. The focus of the May 21 meeting was the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program, sponsored by Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Los Angeles County firefighter Steve Harper and the department's community liaison, Stephanie English, presented a short video and an overview of the program. They provided highlights of the program, developed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide basic fire safety and life-saving skills. They also discussed the benefits of having members of the community that are trained to provide local community assistance during both major and minor emergencies, such as the city's CERT-trained Volunteer Emergency Response Team.

The CERT training program offers our community a great way to get involved and prepare for a wide range of emergency situations. This class provides participants with the training and tools to make their homes, neighborhoods and community a safer place to live. It empowers residents to provide support during local emergencies when professional safety resources are stretched thin or are unable to reach their area immediately.

Harper and English also provided insights into how other communities in Los Angeles County have structured themselves to make the most of this very effective volunteer-based program.

The curriculum of disaster preparedness, fire safety, emergency medical operations and light search and rescue helps individuals to help one another with immediate life-saving needs.

“Turnout for previous trainings in La Cañada Flintridge has been impressive. In response, we have moved the June CERT training to a larger location to accommodate the expected strong showing by the community at this month's classes,” English said.

The CERT training program is offered free of charge, but registration is required and class space is limited. Residents who are interested in signing up for the next session (beginning Saturday, June 16, and continuing Saturday, June 23, and Saturday, June 30), or who just want to learn more about the program, are asked to call (661) 287-3690, or register online at www.fire.lacounty.gov. Participants must be at least 18.

Public Safety Commission meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in the City Council Chambers of City Hall at 1327 Foothill Blvd. The public is welcome to attend.

TOM SCHAFER is a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Public Safety Commission. He can be reached via email at Tom@redlava.net.