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Q&A: From La Cañada to the White House

May 12, 2012
  • La Canada Flintridge Public Safety Commission chair Andy Beattie, at his home. Beattie is also a volunteer advance man for the White House.
La Canada Flintridge Public Safety Commission chair… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

Andy Beattie is a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Public Safety Commission, and when not working at his apparel company or on local safety issues, he can be found in close proximity to the president of the United States. He answered questions from the La Cañada Valley Sun via email.

Sun: Why do you volunteer for the Public Safety Commission and what is the most important work the commission does?

Beattie: I enjoy public service and believe that each of us should contribute to the community where we can. Public safety is a particular interest for me.

The commission’s function is to evaluate the public safety needs of the community and make recommendations to the City Council for programs and services. Projects like the Reverse 911 communications system, the forums on social hosting laws and teen substance abuse, and distribution of fire and earthquake preparedness materials are some of the recent activities that Commissioners Olivia Brown, Kay Linden, Tom Schafer, Joel Smith and I worked on.

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Q: Volunteer Emergency Response Team training is coming up in June. What will people do at the training? Climb ropes? CPR?

A: There won’t be much rope climbing, but our VERT training courses provide great basic instruction into fighting small fires, providing lifesaving medical assistance, organizing and participating in search and rescue, and more, to help our citizens and our city survive natural disasters. Anyone over age 18 living or working in La Cañada can receive the training and assist our first responders when an emergency arises. Sign-up is through our public safety coordinator, Peter Castro, at La Cañada City Hall. Call (818) 790-8880 or see the city web page for more information.

Q: You also volunteer doing advance work for the White House. What are the most far-flung locations that has taken you to, and what is your most memorable experience in doing that task?

A: I’ve been fortunate to travel across the country and around the world doing advance. Within the last year, my teams were in locations as diverse as the Vatican, Baghdad, and the Korean DMZ.

It’s tough to single one experience out, but a recent and very moving one was the dedication of the Flight 93 memorial in Shanksville, Penn., on the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

Q: How did you get the opportunity to be on the president’s advance team?

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