Emergency preparedness should be a year-round goal for Santa Paulans

March 01, 2013
Santa Paula News

Santa Paula Fire Captain Steve Lazenby urged attendees at a recent Oaks Neighborhood Watch meeting to become CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trained, and offered some general preparedness tips.

Lazenby, the city’s Emergency Preparedness coordinator, also explained the door hanger program, a way to let emergency responders know if residents are “OK” or need help in the case of a disaster. 

Lazenby showed his surprise when he asked those signed up for VC Alert to raise their hands, and few in the crowd did. The VC Alert reverse notification program can send “thousands of messages an hour” through a variety of notification systems - cell phone, text and email. Those with a landline home phone are on the dial list, but others must register and users can request more than one area of notification. 

Ready Santa Paula is on the air at AM 1610 radio, which Lazenby said broadcasts local information and items of traveler and resident interest 24 hours a day. In the event of an emergency, AM 1610 will provide emergency information specific to Santa Paula and the Santa Clara River Valley. You can hear AM 1610 clearly in the areas surrounding Santa Paula and throughout the Santa Clara River Valley.

Lazenby congratulated Oaks NW on its embrace of NextDoor.com, which keeps neighborhoods in touch. He urged people to “build up these communications, know your neighbor... it’s good to be prepared,” because in the case of a large scale emergency or disaster people will have to rely on themselves and others close by. 

There are not public safety responders anywhere that could handle a disaster of any magnitude, and people, said Lazenby, “must be ready to take care of themselves.” Santa Paula in general is perhaps better prepared than most, with more than 900 graduates of the CERT program. 

Lazenby apologized for his emphasis on disaster and its ramifications, but, he added, “I hope when you go to bed tonight you can’t sleep,” bringing resolve to make sure preparedness is a priority. 

New CERT classes are started on a regular basis. For more information on emergency preparedness or the CERT program, visit www.readysantapaula.com or contact Lazenby, slazenby@spcity.org. To register for VC Alert, visit www.readyventuracounty.org and follow the link at the bottom of the page.

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