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Laurene Weste: Disaster preparedness is paramount

Live from City Hall

Posted: March 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 24, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Disasters and emergencies never call to schedule a visit. They happen without warning and can lead to chaos if residents are caught unprepared. Close to 60 percent of Americans are “wholly unprepared for a disaster of any kind,” according to KABC 7.

Having experienced 11 federally declared disasters in the last 25 years, the city of Santa Clarita is no stranger to emergencies. The Santa Clarita Valley has faced earthquakes, fires and severe storms.

While it’s true disasters can strike at any time, residents don’t have to be caught unprepared. The city of Santa Clarita has a variety of programs and resources available to educate community members about how to prepare for an emergency or disaster, helping save lives and minimize damage when an emergency hits.

On March 31, community members can learn about what to do during an emergency and stock up on emergency kit supplies at the Emergency Expo, hosted at the Hyatt Regency Valencia from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is free to attend.


What to expect at the Emergency Expo

The city of Santa Clarita believes preparedness is one of the most critical components in quickly recovering from an emergency.

This year, the city will host its Community Emergency Response Training booth, where demonstrations will be hosted to teach preparedness and cover the basic skills that are important to know when emergency services are not immediately available.

Expo attendees will also learn how to recognize potential hazards that arise in emergency situations and the appropriate responses needed in those situations.

Fun activities for kids will be available, including crafts provided by Home Depot, face painting with the Girl Scouts and free fingerprinting provided by the Santa Clarita Valley Optimist Club.

Community members can purchase and stock up on first aid and other preparedness supplies. It is important to consider the needs of the entire family, having a week’s supply of nonperishable food and water for each member of your household.

Vendors will also be at the expo with unique products and services designed to enhance personal and family safety such as earthquake shut off-valves, fire safes, restoration services and pool fencing.

Local and Los Angeles County veterinarians will be on hand to discuss pet safety, health and supplies to have on hand in the time of an emergency.

The Community and Law Enforcement Aware Response project will have a booth to share more information about their efforts in assisting individuals with disabilities in an emergency. A special-needs registry will also be available at the CLEAR booth.


Nixle emergency alert system

In addition to learning more about disaster preparedness at the event, residents can subscribe to a critical alert system, Nixle, to receive information ranging from emergency alerts to community news by way of text message, email notification and social media.

The city can immediately notify Santa Clarita Nixle subscribers of a specific event or emergency. The city’s new emergency notification service is secure, reliable, and free for residents to use. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Residents of the city of Santa and those in neighboring communities can subscribe at to receive information via email, or by texting SCEMERGENCY to 888777. Community members are also encouraged to “friend” and “follow” the city’s Facebook ( and Twitter ( accounts, where emergency notifications will also be posted.

For more information about emergency preparedness, visit the city’s Emergency Management page at or call 661-250-3708.

Laurene Weste is a Santa Clarita City Councilmember and can be reached at:


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