Beverly Hills Fire Chief Greg Barton Discusses Emergency Preparedness

In conjunction with National Preparedness Month, the City of Beverly Hills is holding an informational meeting for the “JUST IN CASE BH” program. The meeting is part of an effort to excite and educate the community about the importance of taking care of one another. The informational event will take place on Sept. 15 at Greystone Mansion, which is located at 905 Loma Vista Drive in Beverly Hills. 

National Preparedness Month is observed nationally each September. Activities and events vary from city to city, but the objective is always to empower communities to handle emergencies at home and the workplace. 

“JUST IN CASE BH” is a city-led emergency preparedness program launched 2020 to train community members to respond in the event of emergencies. The program focuses on a communication-based structure that connects city staff, residents and businesses to efficiently prepare to handle any disaster together. 

“In the past, the first responders were the police and firefighters,” Beverly Hills Fire Chief Greg Barton told the Courier. “In today’s world, the first responder is the person sitting next to you.”  

The program has worked to recruit members from the south side of the city. At the upcoming informational, the program is hoping to attract volunteers from the northern side of Beverly Hills. Positions such as Zone Coordinator, Block Captain and Neighborhood Coordinator are open.

“We’ll provide the training,” said Barton. “But we need the residents to be the eyes and ears of the neighborhood.” 

The training will work hand-in-hand with the city’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT teaches the community valuable skills, like putting out fires, providing first aid, how to shut off electricity and gas, how to lift heavy objects off of people and more. 

“One group can’t make a difference,” said Barton. “The Fire Department, the Police Department, city staff, residents and businesses, we need everybody coming together as one group to really make Beverly Hills safe.”

The informational meeting at Greystone will also review some additional safety materials outside of the “JUST IN CASE BH” program. Los Angeles County’s “Ready! Set! Go!” program will be highlighted, which informs homeowners on how to harden their homes and be ready to evacuate in the case of a fire. 

Barton also explained that “JUST IN CASE BH” gets the community to engage with each other, which in itself will improve communication in any circumstance. “Everyone is so tied to technology to get information,” said Barton. “But if that fails, it really comes down to neighbor helping neighbor.” 

Barton has been proud of the community’s response to the program so far and is excited to continue the work. “It’s been outstanding, the community has really stepped up,” he said.