Tom LaBonge

Councilman Tom LaBonge & LAFD Captain Stacy Gerlich from the Department of Homeland Security to Headline the Event

VAN NUYS, CA — The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is hosting a Special Council Meeting this coming Wednesday, April 30th to address disaster preparedness.  The recent earthquakes in Southern California have highlighted the importance of the issue and the largest neighborhood council in the San Fernando Valley is taking the lead in getting everyone prepared for “The Big One.”

“This summit has been a joy to plan, and I would like to thank LAPD Volunteer Cheryl Cashman, Local Businessman Kambiz Merabi, and Van Nuys Neighborhood Councilman Josef Lazarovitz for all their hard work bringing this together.  We have reached out to all of the neighborhood councils in the San Fernando Valley as well as other local municipalities in the area. We are bringing the experts, our community leaders and the general public together and getting everyone prepared,” said George Christopher Thomas, President of the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council.

“The focus of this event is to inform the community about disasters and earthquakes in the Los Angeles area, primarily getting prepared and what steps they need to take in order to do that.  This event is open to the entire San Fernando Valley and the Van Nuys Neighborhood Council is anticipating a large turnout,” said Thomas.

“Our council has purchased lighted whistles and ‘Go Bags’ as free give-aways. We have Emergency Preparedness Guides from the Red Cross, SOS Survival catalogs, some specific handouts on CERT and a checklist.  LAPD and LAFD will talk about their roles during and after a disaster, where they will be and won’t be, as well as their input on how the community can help by being prepared. LAFD will talk more in depth about preparedness and the CERT program,” said Thomas.

The confirmed speakers are:
LA City Councilman Tom LaBonge
LAPD Commander Operations Regina Scott Valley Bureau
LAFT Captain Stacy Gerlich Homeland Security Division, Catastrophic Planning and Captain Keith Scott CERT Commander
Gas Co. Charles Poepke Field Operation Supervisor II
Red Cross Cheryl Cashman
Map Your Neighborhood Kristin Sales

Mr. Charles Poepke will talk about how to turn off the gas, when you need to turn off your gas and the seismic shut off valves that many homes have and people don’t understand. Cheryl will be talking about “Get a Kit, Make a Plan, Be Informed” for your home, work and car.  And Mrs. Kristin Sales, who has implemented the Map Your Neighborhood program in her neighborhood, will give a brief overview of the program. (Also scheduled to present and speak are Captain Keith Scott, CERT Commander & Charles Poepke, Field Operation Supervisor II for the Southern California Gas Company.)

The Van Nuys Neighborhood Council has selected Wednesday, April 30th for the Disaster Preparedness Summit.  The location will be the Marvin Braude Constituent Services Center at 6262 Van Nuys Boulevard. Additional details will follow early next week.  (

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