ANCA Pasadena Hosts Community-Wide El-Niño Emergency Preparedness Townhall Forum

Group photo of some of the community leaders present at the Emergency Preparedness Townhall Forum organized by ANCA Pasadena.
Group photo of some of the community leaders present at the Emergency Preparedness Townhall Forum organized by ANCA Pasadena.

Group photo of some of the community leaders present at the Emergency Preparedness Townhall Forum organized by ANCA Pasadena.

Critical Information is Imparted to Area Residents and the Community in Preparation of Potential Disasters and Emergencies

PASADENA – In preparation of the coming El Niño weather pattern, the Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena Chapter, in collaboration with its Sister Organizations and several State, Local and Federal agencies, organized and hosted a community-wide emergency preparedness Townhall forum on Thursday, February 25 at the Pasadena Armenian Center. This one of a kind event, drew close to 100 community leaders and members, local residents, guests, volunteers and authorities in the areas of disaster preparedness and response, provided the community at large, with a unique opportunity to hear and learn from experts in the field and familiarize themselves with the various agencies they represent and the services they provide.

The forum, based on sentiments shared by attending residents and community members, proved to be a pleasant, engaging, memorable and informative affair and all in attendance, left pleased with the information imparted to them by the evening’s organizers, experts and presenters. For its part, the evening’s program was opened with remarks from Pasadena ANCA’s Chairman Vahe Majarian, who welcomed members and guests to the Pasadena Armenian Center and its Townhall and shared a brief background of the Pasadena ANCA’s mission, services and activities and expressed, on behalf of the Pasadena ANCA, the organization’s appreciation to the program’s panelists and organizers.

Following Majarian, Taleen Hindoyan, of the “Sosse” Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society, addressed the attendees and offered a brief presentation on her organization’s background and activities. Pasadena ANCA Board Member, David George Gevorkyan, the evening’s moderator, then took the podium and began the program by affirming the forum’s mission: “Learn from the best… prepare for the worst!” Gevorkian then proceeded to introduce the evening’s honored guests and presenters, which included: Veronica Verde, External Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX; Douglas Huls, Southern Region Deputy Administrator for the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services;  Emily Montanez of the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management; Aida Dimejian of the Pasadena ANCA and Lisa Derderian, Emergency Management Coordinator and Public Information Officer for the Pasadena Fire Department.

This Emergency Preparedness Town Hall Forum was also hosted in partnerships with the Office of Congresswoman Judy Chu, the Office of Assemblymember Chris Holden, Homeland Security’s FEMA, the California Governor’s Office’s Office of Emergency Services, Los Angeles County CEO’s Office’s Office of Emergency Management, City of Pasadena Fire Department and the Armenian Relief Society, Homenetmen Armenian Athletic Association and the Armenian Youth Federation Chapters of Pasadena.

The El Niño Emergency Preparedness forum’s expert panelists and presenters then, based on each of their own unique backgrounds and perspectives, made individual presentations on how best to plan and prepare for both this coming El Niño storm system specifically, but also for any and all other emergencies and disasters in general.  The program, being interactive in nature, allowed for the audience to then field questions to the panelists and receive further instructions and information based on their responses. The attendants were then invited to visit the various emergency awareness and preparedness outreach agency booths which were set up in the back of the room, where guests could receive additional materials, resources and information and interact further with representatives from the respective agencies that were represented at the event, as they also enjoyed refreshments and appetizers that were graciously provided the evening’s co-hosts, the “Sosse” Chapter of the Armenian Relief Society, which has served the social and educational needs of the Armenian community in the Pasadena area since 1974.

“We were very pleased with and proud to host this Townhall,” remarked Majarian.“Collectively we put in a lot of time, energy and effort into this extremely important, informative and potentially life-saving emergency preparedness forum and thank all of our panelists/presenters, guests, and attendees for taking the time out of their demanding schedules to attend and participate in this forum, but also my fellow Board of Directors Boghos Patatian and David Gevorkyan who lead its organizing committee and worked tirelessly to bring this event to fruition in such a way that that everyone who attended derived the maximum amount of information possible” stated Majarian.

“The most important aspect of dealing with emergencies or disasters is planning and preparedness. If you’re prepared, you are ready, if you are ready, you don’t panic, and if you don’t panic you survive and are able to help others survive with you. It was our aim here tonight, that everyone who attended our forum, leave it with the confidence of knowing that they are now empowered with the information they need to be prepared for any coming disaster or emergency.  In addition, our goal was to make sure  individuals were able to meet and make new friends and familiarize themselves with leaders from throughout the City of Pasadena, whether they be from the city leadership, our neighborhood associations, civic activists, representatives from our City’s protective services, all of whom were here and are wholeheartedly invested and committed to the advancement, safety, security and betterment of our beloved City of Pasadena,” said Majarian.

In her comments, Veronica Verde, the External Affairs Officer for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX thanked ANCA Pasadena, Congresswoman Judy Chu and other state and local representatives and commended the forum’s organizers for its “whole community approach to emergency management that reinforces the fact that The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is only one part of our nation’s emergency management team. Engaging the whole community and empowering local action helps build a more resilient community.” Verde also urged the community to “Get Ready Now. The likelihood that you and your family will recover from an emergency tomorrow often depends on the planning and preparation done today.”

The Armenian National Committee of America – Pasadena Chapter is the oldest, largest and most influential Armenian-American grassroots organization of its kind within the City of Pasadena. Founded in 1982, the Pasadena ANCA advocates for the social, economic, cultural, and political rights of the city’s thriving Armenian-American community and promotes increased civic service and participation at the grassroots and public policy levels.

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