Emergency Preparedness

Disasters Happen. Prepare Today. Learn Here,

In less than a year, Los Angeles County residents have faced earthquakes, floods, wild fires, debris and mud flows, mudslides, winter storms, pandemic flu, and the effects of a tsunami.

Los Angeles County has prepared a comprehensive guide to emergency preparedness intended to help the residents of Los Angeles County better prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters.

The Emergency Survival Guide has 100 color pages of helpful tips and information for residents to prepare for fires, floods, earthquakes, pandemic flu, terrorism, extreme weather, and tsunamis. There is space to record household emergency plans including out-of-state contacts, family evacuation gathering points, and the location of utility shut-offs. The Emergency Survival Guide also includes checklists for gathering emergency supplies that will help individuals, families, pet owners, businesses and communities survive and recover after a major disaster.

The Emergency Survival Guide is available online at http://lacounty.gov. Additional information on preparing for disasters is also available on-line at www.espfocus.org.

Residents and business owners, including persons with access and functional needs may also call 211 LA County for emergency preparedness information and other referral services. The toll-free 2-1-1 number is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. 211 LA County services can also be accessed by visiting http://211la.org.

Moderate Tsunami Damage Reported In Marina del Rey

The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors announced today moderate damage in connection with the tsunami activity on Saturday, February 27, as a result of the 8.8 magnitude earthquake in Chile.

A series of tidal surges impacted many Southern California harbors including Marina del Rey, with moderate dock damage reported at the Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors’ public docks.

At approximately 3:00 p.m., Beaches and Harbors’ Marina Maintenance staff responded to slip G-200 when a dock finger pulled away from the main walkway. Work crews secured the broken finger to the other boat slips to prevent it from entering the main channel. Utility lines on the dock were also secured and turned off.

To reduce damage to adjacent boat slips and vessels, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Marina Station relocated six vessels ranging in length from 30′-55′ within the anchorage with all vessels reported secured by 9:30 p.m.

Damage assessments are currently underway to determine the cost of replacing the eight Beaches and Harbors’ public docks affected by the February 27th tsunami. There were no reports of vessels damaged in Marina del Rey by the series of tidal surges.

County Search And Rescue Team Honored

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Supervisor Don Knabe, and other members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recently gathered to honor the 85 members of the Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team, California Task Force 2, including six canine heroes and their handlers and 31 members of the CA-TF2 Deployment Support Team. The honors came after the team members deployed to Haiti following last month’s earthquake.

While in Haiti, the team saved the lives of nine people and provided medical care and support to numerous other people. The first team deployed on January 13, on a 14-day mission to assist the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in the rescue and recovery of earthquake victims in Haiti’s capital of Port-au-Prince. A second team was deployed for eight days beginning January 29, 2010, to provide rescue ready support and humanitarian aid as the country continued its recovery efforts, and returned to Los Angeles on February 7, 2010.

Residents/Businesses Urged To Sign Up For Emergency Alerts

With the renewed threat of rainstorms, Los Angeles County officials today urged residents and businesses to sign up for emergency alerts by registering their cell phone numbers and e-mail addresses on the http://alert.lacounty.gov website.

The County’s emergency mass notification system, called Alert LA County, has the capability to use phone, text and e-mail messages to alert residents and businesses when there is an emergency situation in their area and advises of needed actions, like evacuations.

The system was activated 25 times between January 18 – 22 due to rain, flooding and mudslides, with some warnings going to as few as 34 people and some to as many as 513.

All landlines are already included in the system, but people must register their cell phone numbers, Voice over IP phone numbers, and e-mail addresses. This information can be added on the http://alert.lacounty.gov website.

Because the Alert LA County system uses geomapping, each telephone number and/or e-mail address can only be associated with one street address in the system.

The Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center uses the system to issue local and regional alerts, drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded alerts provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions.

If calls are picked up by an answering machine, the system will leave a recorded message. If the number called is busy or does not answer, the system will redial the number in an attempt to deliver the message. The system is TTY/TDD compatible.

Until implementation of Alert LA County in May 2009, the County had no consistent way to contact residents and businesses in case of regional or local emergencies.

The notification system improves the County’s ability to communicate faster, better and more reliably, providing the ability to target messages and follow-up information to residents in affected areas, and reduce the potential for miscommunication by distributing accurate and consistent messages.

Knabe Calls For New Budget Spending Controls

Los Angeles County Supervisor Don Knabe called for a plan today to begin a 100-percent freeze on the purchase of all supplies and services and the replacement of fixed assets in all County departments.

The County’s Chief Executive Office has already applied a 25-percent cap on the services and supplies, and fixed assets budgets of all departments. This means departments can only spend up to 75-percent of the budgets that had been previously approved, with the remaining savings from this cost avoidance available to help offset future budget shortfalls. Under Knabe’s proposal, this 25-percent cap would be maximized to 100-percent, meaning that any equipment or supply purchases would be put through a process of rigorous review and extreme scrutiny before approval. Exceptions to this plan would be considered for the County’s emergency services, such as hospitals, public safety, and public health.

Los Angeles County’s current financial shortfalls have been minimal due to conservative financial spending in good fiscal years and the creation of rainy day funds for past budget surpluses. The County has been able to continue to all existing programs and services to residents through hiring freezes, cuts in administrative costs, and the use of reserves. Budget leaders have advised, however, that the County faces a deficit in the 2010-2011 Fiscal Year of several hundred million dollars.

Every computer and every desk we hold off on buying today means the impact will be less tomorrow, said Supervisor Knabe. Every dollar we save this year is a dollar we can apply to the deficit next year. Every little bit is going to help as we work to keep programs working and County services flowing.

County Begins Repair Process For Fire Areas

Critical infrastructure damaged or destroyed in the recent string of wildfires across Los Angeles County will be swiftly repaired under a motion introduced today by Supervisor Don Knabe and Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. The motion gives the County Department of Public Works wide authority to spend up to $25 million to issue emergency contracts and begin repairs to roadways, flood control systems, and utilities that were impacted during the Station, Morris, and Rancho Palos Verdes Fires.

The County’s top priority is repairing and reopening roads that were damaged and closed during the fire. This includes replacing damaged guardrails, removing dead trees, and strengthening roadbeds that were weakened by the intense heat. Emergency repair work will also restore damaged flood control infrastructure, including the construction of temporary protection against winter rains.

Damage reports are still preliminary, but early estimates from the Station Fire area reveal the need to repair at least 95 guardrail locations, remove more than 760 trees, clean out 24 debris basins, and repair minor damage at the construction site of the ongoing $88 million Big Tujunga Dam Seismic Rehabilitation Project. Additionally, the County will need to rebuild the destroyed Public Works office and crew quarters at the Mill Creek Road Division Depot near Angeles Forest Highway.

We are removing the bureaucratic red tape by giving Public Works the authority to make these repairs, said Supervisor Knabe. We need to get the burn areas on the road to recovery as soon as possible and this motion will make that a reality.

This action allows the County to fast-track repairs and minimize the risk of potential mudslides and floods in the aftermath of the fire, said Supervisor Antonovich.

County Fire Resources

With Los Angeles County deeply affected by this year’s fire season, a number of resources are available for County residents to prepare before the threat of fires, and how the respond or seek help after a fire. Below is a list of some of the County’s primary emergency preparedness resources:

Overview of Fire Assistance Services

The California Emergency Management Agency has issued a comprehensive brochure to provide information on assistance and services for disaster recovery for those impacted by the fires. The State Board of Equalization has also announced that extensions for filing, audits, billing, notices, assessments and relief from subsequent penalties are available for businesses and individuals impacted by the wildfires. Click here for more information.

Current Fire Maps

Current information and maps of the various fires in the Southland is available at this website. The maps may be maneuvered for a comprehensive perspective. Click here for more information.

Housing for Fire Victims

Individuals who have lost their housing due to the Station Fire may qualify for rental assistance under the Section 8 program. To check on eligibility requirements, go to the Housing Authority website, or call (562) 347-4663, option 2, or (800) 731-4663. Click here for more information.

Mental Health Counseling

The County Department of Mental Health is offering mental health crisis counseling services to Station Fire victims, family members and children. Click here for more information.

Road Closures

A detailed list provides fire-related road closures and estimated re-opening dates within unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County. The public may sign up to receive e-mail notifications of road conditions and other matters of interest. Click here for more information.

Fourth Of July Safety Tips For Pets

The Fourth of July is one of the busiest times for the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control (DACC). DACC reminds pet owners that extra precautions are necessary in order to protect pets during Fourth of July celebrations.

Dogs and cats can become startled and disoriented by the loud noises of fireworks. Pets may panic and attempt to escape from your property. To ensure the safety of your pets, here are a few tips:

Make sure your dog’s license is current and tags are securely affixed to your dog’s collar.

Keep your pets indoors in a cool, comfortable place.

Do not keep your pets in the backyard, even if they are tied up. Dogs, in particular, can break free of their restraints and jump fences when scared.

Do not take your pets to community fireworks events. Most events do not allow pets and the noises in close proximity are particularly terrifying to your pets.

If you are leaving town for the weekend and cannot take your pets with you, make sure you leave them with someone who will be cautious during the Fourth of July celebrations.

If your pet becomes lost over the Fourth of July weekend, DACC is expanding its days and hours of operation to ensure pet owners can be reunited with their pets. All six shelters will be open Friday, July 3rd; Saturday, July 4th; and Sunday, July 5th. The shelter locations and hours are as follows:

Downey, Carson, Baldwin Park, and Lancaster:

Friday, July 3, 2009: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 4, 2009: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 5, 2009: 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Castaic and Agoura:

Friday, July 3, 2009: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, July 4, 2009: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

Sunday, July 5, 2009: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

If you have any questions, you can visit our website at http://animalcare.lacounty.gov to contact the animal shelter nearest you.

County Launches Emergency Notification System

Los Angeles County is unveiling a new emergency mass notification system to alert residents and businesses by phone, text, and e-mail of emergencies in their area, Supervisor Don Knabe, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors announced today.

Called Alert LA County, the system will allow the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to activate local and regional alerts by drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded and written alerts will provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions, such as evacuations. The system is so precise it will allow the exclusion of a single home, useful in situations involving hostages or crimes in progress.

The County’s 7.1 million land-line phone numbers are programmed into the mass notification system, but the public must register Voice over IP lines, cell phones and e-mail addresses. The website http://alert.lacounty.gov may be used to register your cell phone number, Voice over IP phone number, and e-mail address with the Emergency Mass Notification System. Registration of this information can be done on the County’s Alert.lacounty.gov website. Each telephone number and e-mail can be associated with only one street address.

If a call is picked up by an answering machine when an alert is being issued, a recorded message will be left. If the number is busy or does not answer, the number will be redialed twice. The system has the ability to detect and communicate with telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTY/TDD).

The Alert LA County system project will cost $1.97 million cost over five years, which includes the purchase of the 911 data from the local telephone companies. Land-line numbers will be refreshed on a monthly basis to ensure accuracy and numbers registered on the website will be added to the database on a nightly basis.