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Allstate to Donate $2 Million for Safety Awareness Program

TIMES STAFF WRITER

In a new partnership with the city of Los Angeles, an insurance company will donate $2 million to fund a series of safety programs, including establishing volunteer units for police and fire crises and neighborhood emergency teams trained to help after major disasters.

Allstate Insurance Co. is expected to formally announce the program, called “Safe Home Los Angeles,” to the City Council on Friday. The program will be coordinated with the Los Angeles Police Department and the city’s Volunteer Bureau, Fire Department and Emergency Operations Bureau.

The main components, under the broad themes of increasing public safety and encouraging community involvement, are corporate sponsorship of:

* A volunteer crisis response team, with a contribution of $115,000. This 24-hour-a-day team will provide fast, short-term, on-the-scene help to citizens involved in crises or crimes, with the goal of allowing police and fire officials to more quickly return to their duties. The Los Angeles Police Department’s 18 divisions and 16 Fire Department battalions will have their own units.

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* Neighborhood emergency teams, or “safety NETs,” funded with $75,000. Designated disaster response volunteers will be trained to provide a variety of services after major disasters and to teach other citizens about emergency preparedness.

As part of the program, one goal is to train--by the end of the program’s first year--5,000 people in 150 neighborhoods on how to be self-sustaining for 72 hours after a disaster

* Crisis preparedness education, in which Allstate and the city will design a disaster information awareness campaign, urging residents to prepare for earthquakes and other crises. The program, funded by a $1.2-million grant, will use billboards, radio, print and broadcast advertising and direct-mail information.

The Allstate donation “is unique in its size and its focus,” said Councilwoman Laura Chick, chair of the council’s Public Safety Committee. “This endeavor is really focused on getting more city residents involved in a very proactive way and involved to prevent crime and other public safety problems.”

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LAPD officials and Mayor Richard Riordan have sought outside funds for projects that fell by the wayside in lean budgetary times, such as purchasing new technology for the force.

The grant also provides funding to recruit and equip more volunteer reserve LAPD officers. In addition, the program provides a $10,000 grant to the Business Advisory Board in each LAPD district, to further community-policing efforts.

Some future programs, funded by the balance of the donation, are still in the planning stages, according to Frank Millar, Allstate’s vice president for Southern California.

Millar said the initiative is a pilot that, if successful, could be expanded to other parts of Southern California and beyond. A similar program is being launched in Chicago.

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For an insurance company, he said, the idea of promoting public safety programs provides clear business and social benefits.

“We’ve landed on some specific things we think will have a very positive impact on the city of Los Angeles,” Millar said.


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