Bob Spears, director of emergency services for the Los Angeles Unified School District, will discuss school preparedness and safety issues at a public meeting of Westside Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) Thursday, September 25th, at Los Angeles Fire Department Station #5, 8900 S. Emerson Ave. in Westchester.

Westside CERT volunteers from Battalions 4,9, and 18 will be present along with other residents interested in emergency preparedness issues. Battalions are a geographical division of fire department resources. Battalion 4 is centered around Los Angeles World Airport but encompasses Westchester, Mar Vista, Venice, Marina del Rey, Culver City and Santa Monica.

Spears has been the L.A, Unified director of emergency services since 2003 and has worked on both the district’s emergency procedures plan for the schools and the schools emergency operations plan. He frequently teaches classes in all aspects of emergency preparedness.

Spears began his career was a first responder with the Sierra Madre Volunteer Fire Department. He has risen through the ranks in Sierra Madre, becoming a captain, then the assistant chief for training before serving as chief of the department.

In his service as a firefighter, he has managed large incidents using the Incident Command System (ICS) and has a great deal of experience in this discipline.

CERT is one of several volunteer organizations that assist Los Angeles Fire Department. Its members are trained in emergency first aid and other emergency skills including fighting small fires, light search and rescue and triage.

CERT classes are free and open to all. They are offered year-round at locations throughout the city.

A calendar of CERT activities is available at www.cert.la.com/. The Web site also has information about the program and provides emergency preparedness information and links.

Information, Jim Stebinger (310) 445-9062, Chris Nevil (310) 390-0370; Batt4CERT@ hotmail.com/; or LAFD Disaster Preparedness Section, (818) 756-9674.

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