Council to establish disaster preparedness committee

Laguna Beach has long considered itself the poster child for disaster recovery, but it's past time to prepare for them, city officials said Tuesday.

The City Council voted May 3 to create a committee to monitor and prepare for future disasters and emergencies. Applications will be accepted through 5 p.m. June 10. Applicants will be interviewed and selected at the June 21 council meeting.

"This is a follow up to the Disaster Preparedness Workshop on April 9, which was very well attended," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, co-chairwoman of the workshop. "We will be advertising for volunteers."

A seven-member committee will be appointed for staggered terms — so some experienced members will always be on board. Four members of the first committee will be appointed for four-year terms and three members to three-year terms. Subsequent appointments will all be for four years.

Membership is open to Laguna Beach and Emerald Bay residents, a departure from the normal residency requirement for city committees.

The committee will follow up on advice survivors gave at the workshop on how to prepare and respond during and after a disaster, Pearson said.

Among the committee's duties:

•provide a forum for input from residents, businesses and service providers;

research grants and other funding for disaster preparedness and related public safety;

provide the council and city staff with ideas to be incorporated into the city's Emergency Preparedness Plan;

help neighborhoods organize preparations;

work with the Laguna Relief and Resource Center to prepare for disasters; and

identify local resources that can help in an emergency — grocery and hardware stores, pharmacies and large nonprofits — and supply the information to the council and relevant city departments

The Police Department, which generally takes the lead in disaster preparedness planning, will help at the committee meetings.

Committee openings will be advertised by May 13, if not earlier. Applications will be available in the City Clerk's office at City Hall.

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