Chairman Keith Harrison Leads Venice When It Comes to Emergency Management Coordination With Our Public Safety Partners
By Nick Antonicello
Keith Harrison, who serves as chair of the VNC’s Resiliency Committee is committed to keeping the Venice Community informed and prepared when it comes to the prospect of a local emergency disaster.
Harrison proudly serves in this essential volunteer capacity that in case of an emergency, Venice is prepared to calmly and safely react to a potential crisis.
I interviewed Keith and below is our conversation on the importance of being prepared in the face of a local disaster:
- What is the name of your committee and what is its purpose?
Venice Community Resiliency Committee Purpose: To Make Venice Disaster Resilient.
- Who are your members?
Keith Harrison, Chair, Nicholas Hippisely Coxe, Vice Chair, Anneke Campbell, Erica Moore and Heather Dolin.
- What is the mission of your committee?
The mission of the Venice Community Resiliency Committee (VCRC) is to develop whole community planning and preparedness programs to further ensure the survival and recovery of the Venice community in times of disaster or proclaimed emergency.
- How do you interact and educate the public?
Through direct and indirect engagement using different events including training, Town Halls, articles in local media and distributing emergency preparedness information at venues such as the Venice Farmers Market and the Venice Holiday Sign Lighting.
- What are the most commonly asked questions by residents and stakeholders?
Can there actually be a Tsunami in Venice? Answer: Yes in fact Venice has had very small Tsunami impacts in the past which did not cause damage but temporarily closed the beach. The last Tsunami Advisory was in 2022 in response to the Tonga Earthquake. If there is a Tsunami what should I do? Answer: Evacuate to east of Lincoln Blvd. Be familiar with posted evacuation routes, sign up for Notify LA to get early warnings. Have go kit with essential supplies to take with you. Be prepared to travel on foot or bicycle. Get to know your neighbors and assist them, particularly persons with disabilities or functional needs. How much food and water should I have for emergencies? Answer: At least 72-hours’ worth of food and water for you and your pets. More is of course, always better ! Two to three weeks is a good goal, but don’t be intimidated by that number and just start now to get to 72 hours. Also work with your neighbors using the “Ready Your LA Neighborhood Plan” to organize and share resources.
- Do you interact with LAPD or the LAFD?
Yes as well with the LA Emergency Management Department and Red Cross to share information and coordinate preparedness activities.
- What are the three most important points you try to make when explaining what you do?
Venice is vulnerable to multiple disasters and emergencies that can change the very nature of the community. Venice is not simply a name on a map, and during the process of response and recovery the way to make the Venice Community disaster resilient and therefore able to recover while maintaining its basic nature through preparedness at the individual, family, business, and neighborhood wide level and effectively engage with LA City Emergency Management and its responders. The Venice Community Resiliency Committee of the Venice Neighborhood Council works in partnership with Los Angeles to engage and organize Venetians to work individually and collectively toward making us a Disaster Resilient Community!
Keith Harrison has been a homeowner in Venice since 1977. He is currently an independent emergency management consultant with 40 years of experience in emergency management. Over 30 years of his experience has been in government service first with the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and second with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management which included responding to thirty (30) declared emergencies and major disasters by the President of the United States. He has served as volunteer Chair the VCRC for the past 5 years.
To learn more about the Resiliency Committee, visit them online at www.venicenc,org
Nick Antonicello is a thirty-one year resident of Venice and covers the deliberations and actions of the various committees of the Venice Neighborhood Council. Have a take or a tip on all things Venice? Contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org