A coalition from Compton, CA, better known as PAC RED, focuses on preparedness for seniors and community members with special needs, among others. For example, the coalition’s website offers educational videos for the deaf or hard of hearing with sign-language instructions that describe how to summon the police or fire department during an emergency.
The mission of PAC RED is “to educate residents and stakeholders within their local communities on the importance of disaster awareness and preparedness by ensuring emergency planning, training and resources are available and accessible to everyone regardless of age, gender, race, religion or affluence.”
Endorsing a “whole community” approach to resilience, the coalition collaborates with partner agencies including FEMA, the Compton Office of Emergency Management, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, the American Red Cross, in addition to faith-based and community leaders.
In this geographically remote desert region, over 500 community members use the social networking tool Facebook to stay in-touch with coalition activities, share the latest news during wildfires events that threaten the community, and provide tips on disaster preparedness.
As part of the the Los Angeles County Community Disaster Resilience (LACCDR) project, the coalition also conducted HAM radio trainings so community members could supply emergency communications with local authorities and check-in with each other during emergencies.
What’s more, this community scored highest for possessing supplies in preparation of an emergency according to the results of a study by LACCDR investigators. In fact, volunteers from the community authored their own “Residents Guide for Survival” working in partnership city and county representatives.
A second LACCDR coalition formed in Huntington Park, CA, continues to focus on Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in partnership with the local fire department. The CERT program educates the community about disaster preparedness and provides training in fire safety, search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Students must complete three 8-hour training sessions to receive certification.
This largely Spanish-speaking community certified 32 residents during the LACCDR project and the number continues to grow. The Huntington Park CERT launched a website that offers links to education on disaster readiness and highlights citizens taking action to make a difference in their community.