I’m very happy to announce that something I’ve been working on for the last three years- enhancing public safety through the use of trained volunteers- passed the City Council last night by unanimous vote. This will benefit the City tremendously when an earthquake hits, heavy El Nino rainfall comes, or during any other time when disaster response is needed.
The City’s new policy will re-invigorate and expand our Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) capabilities, allow for more training opportunities, and provide for a better state of emergency preparedness. Additionally, volunteers will be able to achieve three different levels of training, so each individual can contribute based on their abilities and interest.
A new Community Outreach Volunteer position was also created, which will allow community volunteers to assist during special events not related to a disaster. Examples of these duties include assisting with handing out sand bags during heavy rains and distributing educational literature to members.
The benefits don't stop there: these volunteers will also allow the City to realize cost savings. For example, when coyotes established a presence in Torrance last year, the City spent tens of thousands of dollars to hire a company to distribute information to residents. I had asked that volunteers be allowed to do this to save the City money, but the framework was not yet in place. But now that we have established a framework, volunteers will now be able to serve, saving the City tens, or possibly hundreds, of thousands of dollars.
I’m so proud of the community members who dedicate their time to making Torrance a better community and look forward to working with them under this new program. If you’re interested in volunteering, here are the resources to get you started: