Los Angeles Lakers star Pau Gasol visited Venice on Wednesday to help teach an auditorium filled with elementary school students the importance of being prepared for an earthquake or fire.
The 7-foot power forward for the two-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers easily mixed with the roughly 120 Broadway Elementary School students who greeted him with loud cheers.
The students earlier watched a short video on what to do when there's a fire in the home and how to extinguish flames if they catch ablaze. They were quizzed on the video by Los Angeles Fire Department Capt. Richard Fields, who kept the instruction lively and informative.
Gasol told the students that it's important to have a plan in case of a fire and urged them to ask their parents about their emergency plan.
"It's important to practice that plan, as well as it is important for us, the Lakers, to practice our plays, so when game time comes we're ready to do it," Gasol said.
He later asked the students if they had heard about the recent tragedy in Japan to underscore the importance of being prepared for an emergency.
"It is really sad as one of your classmates said and it's something that does happen unfortuantely," Gasol told the kids. "But you have to know what you can do when you find yourself caught in a situation like that."
He then stood tall as the children went through an earthquake drill by dropping to the ground, covering their heads and holding onto something firm.
The fire department and Gasol have previously teamed up to produce public service announcements videos for children on smoke detectors and fire safety. The presentation at the school was part of the fire department's QuakeSmart:LA emergency preparedness program for students.
Gasol, a native of Spain, spoke to the mostly Hispanic audience in Spanish for a bit during his presentation. He later joined the students on a tour of fire department vehicles and posed for pictures and signed autographs.