CARLETON CRONIN ✍️ Where did WeHo’s emergency stockpile go?

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We were fortunate in most of WeHo during the just-ended storm cycle to have missed the worst of it. No doubt, the heavy continuous rain made life difficult for many, but the event did not reach a point where it could be labeled a “disaster”. Preparations at my house were minimal: placing a sump pump in the lowest spot in the rear yard, bringing out the hurricane lamps and prepping them for use, checking to see if I had enough Jameson to weather the storm, and making sure my CERT-organized emergency supplies were in good order. While I was tending to the latter, I thought of CERT’s (Community Emergency Response Team) origins in West Hollywood.

Early City Councils were most enthusiastic about the program, and after about two years of its existence, we had over 200 volunteers trained to respond to emergencies, especially during times when first responders from fire and other services would be unavailable. Because I was active in the emergency management trade, I was the lead person then and, with the city’s blessing, purchased three new shipping containers. One each of the large ones was to be placed at West Hollywood Park and Plummer Park. A smaller container was set up in the parking lot behind city hall for staff. They were filled with close to $30,000 worth of emergency supplies, including such items as portable fencing to erect temporary corrals for loose dogs and cats. An arrangement with PAWS would supply handlers. We also provided FEMA training for EOC (Emergency Operations Center) personnel at city hall and maintained a seat there to handle volunteer services.

All of the preparations were, of course, contingent upon the availability of trained volunteers, but our CERT program was sailing along quite well – until it didn’t. Over the ensuing years, I have sought an answer about the demise of a city-sponsored CERT program. Only stonewalling. My pal Kevin Burton, who maintains RECERT.com, and I were once allowed to view – from a distance – the city’s emergency management manual and to visit one unlocked, mostly empty container in a jammed facilities lot. I understand that the other large container is at Plummer Park, where it is somehow used during the farmers market day there. Sic transit gloria…

We now have an emergency management person at city hall who can let us know what the city will provide in terms of assistance during city-wide emergencies such as floods, fires, and earthquakes. Perhaps that person might also shed some light on the disappearance of all the once-assembled emergency supplies.

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About Carleton Cronin
Carleton Cronin and his wife, Toby Ann, have lived in West Hollywood since 1974. They have raised four sons here, and Cronin has long been an astute observer of civic life. Carleton publishes the blog crobarcogito.blogspot.com

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Alan Strasburg
Alan Strasburg
13 days ago

I applaud Mr. Cronin for his pragmatic questioning of these basic functions that are part of the nuts and bolts of sound municipal governance. We all need to be asking more questions, and demanding answers from those entrusted to steward the resources of the public.

Dicks Street Stalker
Dicks Street Stalker
13 days ago

The emergency management program seemed to be organized until Kristin Cook left the city. Her successor, Mr. Rivas hasn’t done much except ruin the rapport Ms. Cook spent years cultivating with the Sheriff’s and Fire Departments. Now, crime is up and we’ve got a bunch of juveniles sauntering block by block on their phones all day. Bravo! What a joke.

Kevin Burton
13 days ago

Thank you, Carl, for posing this important question. It would be informative to the community if the City could summarize it’s current supply of emergency supplies and where they are located. In addition, it would be interesting to learn what extra emergency preparedness training is undergone by emergency operations staff. (The previous director of the Public Safety Department had a degree in the subject). For all those interested in CERT and emergency preparedness in West Hollywood and more generally, there is a wealth of resources at WeHoReCERT.org .

Last edited 13 days ago by Kevin Burton
Really...
Really...
13 days ago

This program better be up and ready to deal with the assured chaos which will ensue after the Presidential election.

West
West
9 days ago
Reply to  Really...

Most certainly it’s coming. But expect the current CC majority to convert these shipping containers into holding cells and re-education centers for non-Biden voters before utilizing them for their intended use.

WHWRA resident
WHWRA resident
14 days ago

I am dismayed at how disorderly the program is. I received the CERT training at the new ARC, and appreciated the education and planning tools, as well as my new hard hat. However, there was absolutely no follow up, so all the trainees dispersed, and the potential team wasn’t really formed. Resources, both human and in the form of materiel, should be better marshaled.

Outraged
Outraged
14 days ago

Once again, no accountability and focusing on the wrong things so that we’re not ready for an emergency but all the other fanciful things get attention that glorify the overpaid city officers’ egos. Sometimes, taking responsibility is not sexy or glamorous, sometimes it’s just practical. But try telling that to West Hollywood City Hall. While the fireman fiddles, the barn will burn. Same old incompetence from the Widdle Kid Mean Girls “playing at” running a city. Maybe next time, we elect leaders who actually have a background in Civic management, urban planning, emergency planning, civic programs, public health, business development,… Read more »

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