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Paul Kopfstein and Ryan Sweeney of Long Beach Firefighter Search and Rescue descend the Pyramid last year during a demonstration at the READY Long Beach emergency preparedness event at Cal State Long Beach.

Living in Southern California comes with the potential of experiencing an earthquake, and city officials want Long Beach to be ready.

That's the reason for READY Long Beach, a festival focusing on helping people prepare for "the Big One." This year's edition, the sixth annual, takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Cal State Long Beach campus.

Everything from earthquake preparedness kits to freeze-dried meals are available at the festival, which is sponsored and organized by the Long Beach Fire Department and the city's Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications, with participation from other city departments and nonprofits.

The expo includes multiple demonstrations of emergency responses (last year, a Fire Department team scaled and repelled down the Walter Pyramid), a kids' fun zone, emergency response equipment, giveaways, food to purchase and more.

“The Ridgecrest earthquakes this past July have reminded folks that the right time to get ready is right now,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in a release. “READY Long Beach gives residents the critical information and resources they need to make a plan before an emergency occurs.”

While there is an emphasis on earthquake preparedness, responses to other emergencies also will be addressed.  The city's CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trainers will be on hand, and signups for classes will be available.

“READY Long Beach is about building resiliency within our community," Fire Chief Xavier Espino said in a release. "It is essential that we build a culture of preparedness through education and outreach. We must meet the needs of our community with a specific emphasis on our vulnerable populations. Disasters know no boundaries. We are all in this together.”

The event is free to attend, and there is free parking  in Parking Structure 1 (near the Pyramid) on Merriam Way, south of Atherton Street. The entrance is on Atherton Street.

For more information about the event or preparedness in general, go to www.longbeach.gov/DisasterPreparedness.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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