Just in Case BH Kickoff Draws Residents, Volunteers, First Responders

An estimated 100 people gathered at La Cienega Park on March 26 for the installation of Just In Case BH‘s first emergency supply box.

City officials and community members attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony included Beverly Hills Mayor Lili Bosse, Vice Mayor Julian Gold, Just in Case

BH Co-Founder Vera Markowitz, City Councilmembers Lester Friedman and Sharona Nazarian, Beverly Hills Fire Chief Greg Barton, Just in Case BH Volunteer South Zone Coordinator Shirley Reitman, Beverly Hills Unified School District Superintendent Michael Bregy and Beverly Hills Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Johnson.

“It was absolutely a smash,” Markowitz said about the event. “It was great.”

The emergency box contains a variety of supplies, including bandages, tourniquets and defibrillators. It is designed to be a valuable resource for the community in the event of a flood, fire or other emergency.

The emergency supply box is 5 feet long and cemented into the ground. Just in Case BH zone coordinators, emergency services personnel and city staff have access to unlock it.

In the coming months, additional emergency supply boxes are planned for the city’s eight other geographical zones. According to Markowitz, supply boxes for Zones 4 and 5 will be installed during the city’s fall art show on May 21; boxes for Zones 6, 7 and 8 will be installed on May 28 over Memorial Day weekend at Roxbury Park; and emergency supply boxes for Zones 1, 2 and 3 will be unveiled by the end of August.

La Cienega Park falls in the city’s 9th zone.

The outdoors event, held from 2-4 p.m., marked the official kickoff for Just in Case BH, a citywide initiative and public safety campaign that trains neighbors in emergency and disaster preparedness through the national program, Community Emergency Response Team while ensuring residents, schools and businesses have access to doctors, medical supplies and a central location for food and water.

The all-volunteer program was co-created by Markowitz and Fire Chief Barton. Three years ago, they envisioned the idea when protests connected to the death of George Floyd poured into Beverly Hills.

The resulting program is comprised of residents and members of the business sector who are disaster volunteers and serve as backup to the city’s first responders in the immediate aftermath of an emergency. The goal is to ensure self-sufficiency among residents of the community.

At the festive park event, families participated in hands-on activities–literally–as kids enjoyed putting their hands in wax to get a mold, along with face painting and storytelling with author Patti Tanenbaum.

“The kids loved that,” Markowitz said. “There were a lot of things for kids.”

For the adults, there was CPR, first aid and “Stop the Bleed” demonstrations.

Judging by the afternoon’s impressive turnout, Just in Case BH leaders are successfully generating enthusiasm about their all-volunteer, citywide emergency training program.

“It’s so exciting for all of us involved in Just in Case,” Markowitz said, “and it should be exciting for every citizen.”