On an upcoming Sunday afternoon, families, concerned residents of all ages and emergency service providers will gather together outdoors for a fun-filled, informational event designed to prepare everyone in the community for how best to respond to an urgent situation.
The City of Beverly Hills, the Beverly Hills Fire Department and the Beverly Hills Police Department are holding the family-friendly function, during which Just In Case BH will install its first emergency supply box.
The March 26 community gathering at La Cienega Park will feature a kosher food truck; kid’s games; CPR trainings; “Stop the Bleed” demonstrations, police dogs and fire department officials on-hand to meet with attendees who are invested in better serving their neighborhoods by learning what to do in the event of a flood, fire, earthquake or other critical emergency event.
“Everyone is coming out to be supportive of making the city safer,” Vera Markowitz, co-founder and director of Just In Case BH, told the Courier in advance of the free community program, which will be held from 2-4 p.m. at 8400 Gregory Way. “We’re looking forward to bringing everyone together for a worthwhile cause.”
Markowitz is more than a little passionate about keeping the city’s estimated 36,000 residents feeling secure and prepared for any emergency it may face, be it flood, fire, earthquake or even a public health pandemic.
Working in close partnership with Beverly Hills Fire Chief Gregory Barton and Mayor Lili Bosse, she envisioned the Just In Case initiative about three years ago when demonstrations prompted by the death of George Floyd spilled into Beverly Hills. The program equips people to handle an emergency when the city’s response services aren’t immediately available because they’re overwhelmed by calls.
Implemented over the past three years, the program serves schools, businesses, and residents of the 17,000 homes in Beverly Hills by splitting the city up into nine geographical zones, each designed to support itself during times of emergency or disaster.
The initiative trains neighbors in emergency and disaster preparedness through the national program, Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.), while ensuring residents have access to doctors, medical supplies, and a central location for food and water.
Recent heavy rainfall in Southern California reinforced the need for the Just In Case initiative, Markowitz said. Beverly Hills neighborhoods, including Trousdale Estates, experienced ongoing power outages and were having trouble with basics such as accessing WiFi.
With Just In Case being fully implemented, that will be less of a problem as it supplies block captains with walkie talkies to communicate during power and internet outages. Residents of the area can turn to each other for critical support and assistance, making them feel a little less alone during a challenging time.
“We’re trying to get away from technology because technology will be one of the first things that go down,” Markowitz said. “We’re making an effort to not rely on technology.”
The March 26 event will include a demonstration with the emergency supply container, a brief emergency preparedness discussion and, for camera-ready folks, photo-ops with Beverly Hills Fire Department and Beverly Hills Police Department personnel.
Bosse said the emergency supply boxes, which contain basic first aid items, such as bandages, tourniquets, stop the bleed supplies and defibrillators, will be a “valuable resource” for community members in times of emergencies.
The boxes, said Markowitz, will be cemented into the ground. They are five feet long and only zone coordinators and head of Just in Case BH will have access to them.
In the coming months, the city plans to install additional supply boxes in each of the
Just In Case BH nine geographical zones. The upcoming event will see the box installed in Zone 9.
“We’re really looking forward to the kickoff,” Markowitz said. “We hope people will come out to learn more about a critically important program for our Beverly Hills community.”
To learn more about Just In Case BH, visit justincasebh.org.