Rep. Katie Hill, D-Agua Dulce, co-hosted a natural-disaster preparedness seminar Saturday with Los Angeles County first responder agencies at Canyon High.
About 60 residents showed up for the 2-hour discussion with six different presentations.
“We brought together all the various folks that are responsible for emergency management and natural-disaster preparedness,” said Angela Giachetti, Hill’s district director.
One particular area of focus during the seminar was to inform about how the federal government’s role, particularly with Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, personnel and funding.
“We sat down with FEMA, and they walked us through their process on how it gets from the federal level, all the way down through the state, county and local,” said Giachetti.
Giachetti explained that in order for the process to start for FEMA, a natural disaster has to be declared by the executive branch. Following the declaration, the money then flows through the various government agencies until it reaches the local level.
“You, as a resident of Santa Clarita, should your home be destroyed in a natural disaster or something like that, all those things need to fall into place,” Giachetti said. “It’s a pretty complicated process, and we’re here trying to demystify it.”
This is the third emergency-preparedness seminar in recent weeks for the SCV, following ones held by Assemblywoman Christy Smith, D-Santa Clarita, and then State Senator Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, and county 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger.
These types of seminars are being held with frequently by constituent request, Giachetti said, in light of a seemingly “constant” fire season and the Ridgecrest earthquakes that also gave the SCV a mild shake over Fourth of July weekend.
Those in attendance heard from, in addition to FEMA, the American Red Cross, the Los Angeles County Fire Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management.
“The point of these is to hammer it home,” said Maria Grycan, a community services liaison for the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “I see some of the same faces at some of these, so it’s nice because people come back here something different, or it just reinforces what they already heard. We’ll go to as many of these as necessary in order to get the word out to everybody.”