Palo Alto to honor 12 for emergency preparation

City to display its mobile command center, hand out awards at Thursday event

Palo Alto will celebrate its disaster preparedness efforts and honor 12 individuals who spearheaded these efforts at a ceremony Thursday night.

The event, presented by the city and the Palo Alto/Citizens Corps Council (CCC), will feature a keynote speech by Ross Stein, a geophysicist at the United States Geological Survey. Ross, an expert in earthquake science, will discuss the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

The city will present seven Achievement Awards to neighborhood leaders and other community members who have participated in the disaster-preparation efforts. They are Bernadette Burns-Line of Stanford Hospital; Dr. Enoch Choi of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation; Doug Kalish, member of the Palo Alto Neighborhood Disaster Activity (PANDA); Lydia Kou of Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN); Karl Matzke from the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter; Tom Prussing of Stanford University and Bob Sikora of PANDA.

Five others will receive Awards of Merit. They are Diane Churchill from the First Congregational Church of Palo Alto; Ann Crichton, a PAN neighborhood preparedness coordinator; Sue Dremann, staff writer at the Palo Alto Weekly; Sheri Furman, chair of PAN; and Lisa Pelletier, an emergency preparedness specialist at the Stanford School of Medicine.

The event reflects the city's renewed focus on emergency preparedness. The council named emergency preparedness one of its five priorities for the year. Attendees will also have a chance Thursday to check out the city's new Mobile Emergency Operations Center, a high-tech vehicle that will be on display before the presentation.

Mayor Pat Burt said that event is part of the city's effort to strengthen its emergency preparation and help residents get ready for future disasters.

"We don't know when or where emergencies will strike, but we do know that we can and must do more to be prepared for the unexpected," Burt said in a statement.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

Gennady Sheyner

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