By Staff Writer
A community evacuation drill and public safety fair will be held this coming Sunday morning in the Mandeville Canyon.
Starting at 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, neighbors in the Mandeville Canyon area of Brentwood will be notified via messages from the City of Los Angeles’ Notify LA system hat the drill has begun and will be asked by Los Angeles Police Department officers to evacuate the neighborhood. Evacuating residents will be directed by emergency responders out of the canyon, across Sunset Boulevard, to the evacuation area at the Paul Revere Charter Middle School. Once neighbors arrive at the school, they will be invited to participate in a community public safety fair, where neighbors can speak with staff from city departments about how you can be best prepared in an emergency.
“Mandeville Canyon is a unique and beautiful neighborhood — but with limited ingress and egress and proximity to brush areas, it is located in a high-risk fire zone,” said Bonin. “We need to be prepared if an evacuation is necessary and drills like this can help save lives if that unfortunate day comes.”
John Binder, President of the Upper Mandeville Canyon Association, helped organize the previous drill in 2014 in which 900 cars were able to get out of the canyon in 45 minutes. 70 percent of the canyon was evacuated. “This time we’d like to get a higher number,” Binder said. “The fire department knows what they’re doing. They just need to do it once in a while so the newer guys get the procedure. That all worked really well in 2014. You’re given a warning about time. At 9 o’clock, your phone starts ringing, and you’re told to be ready to leave by 10. You get this countdown. You have 15 cops on motorcycles come up here and that wakes up everybody as well. Then at a certain point they tell you to go.”
With a narrow two lane road that leads in and out of the canyon, it’s important to keep one lane clear so that the fire department can transport important equipment into the canyon. Binder continued, “People tend to get panicky, and they fill up both lanes of the road. The fire equipment can’t get in and then the fire catches the people in the cars. This is a rehearsal so that people feel at least they know what they’re expected to do, and they may be much less likely to panic. What we did in 2014, and we’re going to do this again, is go out of the canyon. We’ll get all the cars coming out of this canyon to go straight across Sunset through a gate and onto the expansive grounds of Paul Revere Middle School.”
Neighbors are encouraged to sign up for Notify LA at https://emergency.lacity.org/notifyla.