Public Safety Expo returns to June for the first time since 2019

Malibu City Hall hosted the fourth annual Public Safety Expo on Saturday, June 4, making its return to June scheduling for the first time since 2019.

This year’s Public Safety Expo was more than double the size of last year’s October event. 

The free event allowed residents to meet their local first responders, community safety representatives, and safety equipment vendors to get information on how to stay safe in various emergency situations. 

Information booths were hosted by Malibu CERT (Community Emergency Response Team), Malibu Search and Rescue, Los Angeles County Fire Department, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, Arson Watch, and LA County Animal Care and Control.

Also present were vendor information booths from Allstate Insurance, Southern California Edison, Fortress Fire Retardant Systems, and Safe-T-Proof, among others.

Although the event was well organized, it was not well attended. It was, however, hosted in time to help residents prepare for the upcoming fire season. 

Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff Station Capt. Jennifer Seetoo said disaster preparedness is very important to the community. She explained that it is a group effort between first responders and community volunteers; she informed residents to pull together all resources to stay prepared for any sort of disaster. Seetoo said residents must have plans in place in case of a disaster. 

“We’re [first responders] going to be evacuating, and the life-saving jobs will be ours, but residents need to know to have food and water, have an evacuation plan and a family plan,” Seetoo said.

Visitors who attended the event were greeted by Mayor Paul Grisanti, who wore his CERT safety vest and offered visitors the City of Malibu Emergency Survival Guide. The guide covers the steps for emergency preparedness, tips for creating and maintaining an emergency plan, information on emergency and community services, basic first aid tutorials, and important organization information. 

Mayor Grisanti urged residents to become informed on CERT. He believes the community would benefit from more people joining CERT or receiving CERT training.

“We’re constantly trying to have enough CERT team members in every neighborhood in the city so that our residents can speak to their neighbors about how to be better prepared,” Grisanti said. 

He said that Malibu has a major commitment to being prepared for whatever may come next, and residents must not let their guard down.

“We have a tendency to move to Malibu and think nothing will ever go wrong, and life is perfect, but the reality is that we are a little more on a frontier here,” Grisanti said. “We must be prepared to take care of ourselves, our families, and our neighbors.”

CERT Team Leader Richard Garvey also stressed the importance of community awareness and involvement in CERT. 

He said CERT is a valuable resource in the city as it acts as boots on the ground that help residents and city officials communicate with each other in times of emergency or disaster. The team is capable of doing welfare checks on residents, help in food distribution, deal with basic traffic and offer radio communication in the event of a loss in power across the city.

He urged residents to sign up for CERT training classes beginning on Wednesday, June 15. He explained that residents could sign up for the class without having to become CERT team members. The classes will be held on Wednesday evenings and will be the first in-person classes since the beginning of the pandemic.

“It’s great training to have to know what you could do to make yourself, your family and your community a little safer during an emergency,” Garvey said. 

Residents interested in attending the classes could sign up on MalibuSafety.EventBrite.com.

The expo also featured a sit-in earthquake simulator. The Quake Cottage allowed visitors to safely experience the violent motions and sounds of a major earthquake. 

The Public Safety Expo, held June 4 in Malibu, featured the “Quake Cottage,” a sit-in earthquake simulator. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Earthquake simulator coordinator Jeff Rice said the simulator is an educational tool to help visitors be prepared for an earthquake rather than being scared of an earthquake. 

He explained that in the event of an earthquake, it is no longer advised for people to seek shelter under a door frame. He said that injuries are likely to occur when people are trying to move while the ground is still shaking. He said that the best procedure is to drop to your knees, cover your head and wait for the shaking to stop before exiting a potentially dangerous area. 

Beside disaster tips and information, the expo also offered reminders for residents to stay safe while enjoying Malibu beaches and hiking trails. 

Reserve Deputy Sheriff Neal Thornhill of the Malibu Search and Rescue Unit said the upcoming hot season will pose new problems for the community and advised residents to keep safety tips in mind.

“Hikers could not be prepared for the heat. We tell people to hike early in the day, bring a lot of food and water, and don’t bring your pets,” Thornhill said. “Take it step by step, and ease into the heat.”

He said that their unit is made up of reserve deputies and civilian volunteer specialists and their team is always recruiting. He said that their team provides a lot of training and all members will be provided EMT training.

“It’s very rewarding, this team is like a big family,” Thornhill said. “It’s a way of life for a lot of us.”

Residents hoping to join Malibu Search and Rescue are urged to visit their website, Malibusar.org.  

“It’s great for the city to bring all these great resources together in one spot for the residents to come see how we’re all getting prepared,” Thornhill said. “It’s really nice to see all the unique life saving tools and the people who manage them.” 

The Lee family enjoys their visit to the Public Safety Expo on June 4. Photo by Emmanuel Luissi/TMT.

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