Earlier this month, volunteers from the American Red Cross and representatives from the City of Santa Clarita and Emergency Services came together to refine a unified plan for the establishment of Evacuation Centers and Shelters in the event of a large disaster in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Representatives from Los Angeles County Fire, Los Angeles Sheriffs, California Highway Patrol, Hart School District, College of the Canyons and Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control were in attendance.
"We felt it was very important that everyone be on the same page," said Cary Van Ausdall, a Government Liaison Officer with the American Red Cross. "While we have always worked hand in hand with first responders, we wanted to review the list of sites to make sure that they were suitable for evacuations and in locations that are easy to find."
Together the group developed a common list of facilities that will meet the needs of the community. In addition, emergency sheltering for animal victims was also addressed. "Unfortunately, the American Red Cross cannot accept animals inside a shelter, unless they are service animals," stated Joy Grahn, also a Government Liaison Officer with American Red Cross. "When displaced people come to a shelter, they are under great stress, and do not understand why we cannot take in their animals."
The agenda was co-designed by Donna Nuzzi, Emergency Services Supervisor for the City of Santa Clarita, Cary Van Ausdall, Joy Grahn, and Susan Klose, Vice Chair of Santa Clarita Red Cross disaster services.
"One thing that makes our community unique in the Los Angeles area is the close relationship between our emergency responders," said Nuzzi. "We look forward to working together in the future to better serve our community."