WHO WILL YOU HELP?
ONCE IT HAPPENS…
IT’S TOO LATE
GUIDE TO FAMILY
CITY OF LOS ANGELES
EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT
200 NORTH SPRING STREET, ROOM 1533
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA 90012
An emergency can happen quickly and often without warning. In a major
disaster (emergency) it might take several days for vital services to be
Are you and your family prepared to survive for at least 72 hours without
the comforts of home?
In Los Angeles, you are most likely to experience an earthquake. If you
can prepare your family for a major earthquake, you will be prepared for
Having a plan is one of the most important steps you can take in disaster
preparedness. Knowing what to do and how to do it can help you and
your family manage disasters with less worry, fear, and
Who Will You Help? Once It Happens…It’s Too Late.
Commit a weekend to updating telephone numbers,
buying, finding and/or collecting survival supplies, and
reviewing your emergency plan with everyone.
The purpose of this City of Los Angeles Family Preparedness Guide is to
show you and your family how to prepare and recover.
This guide has been prepared by the City of Los Angeles, Emergency
Management Department, (EMD). EMD coordinates the emergency preparedness
and planning of all City departments, over four million residents, and over 400,000
businesses residing within our 475 square miles. During major emergencies and
disasters, we coordinate the response, mitigation and recovery efforts.
MAKE A FAMILY PLAN
Who Will You Help? Once It Happens…It’s Too Late.
The purpose of a family meeting is to inform and educate family members,
including children, seniors and family members with disabilities. Having a plan
is one of the most important steps you can take in disaster preparedness.
Knowing what to do and how to do it can help you and your family manage
disasters with less worry, fear, and uncertainty.
All Family Members need to know the following:
•The location of your Survival Supplies.
•The location of the “GO BAGS” .
•Draw a map of the house. Locate doors and windows that can be used as
•Identify two evacuation routes from each room.
•Practice your evacuation routes.
•Determine a meeting place outside of your residence, in case it is unsafe to
•Do not meet on the roof.
•Determine one location outside neighborhood in case of evacuation.
•Keep gas tank half full at all times. Gas might not be available after a
•Determine out of state contacts. Family members should be instructed to
call them in event of emergency. Local calls may be difficult to place.
•Practice your Drop, Cover & Hold-On (Earthquake) and
Stop, Drop & Roll (Fire Drills).
•Teach each member of your family how to use a fire extinguisher.
•Create emergency cards for each of your family members (page 15).
•Locate utilities: Determine how to turn them off and with what tools? Do not
turn the gas back on by yourself.
Gas On-Off Valves
Electrical Meter Water Shut-Off
PREPARE AND PLAN WITH CHILDREN
Children should be taught and know the following responsibilities. A
child that is knowledgeable of the information below will feel more
in control during a crisis situation.
Include children in discussions and planning for emergency safety.
Know two escape routes from your residence and from each room.
Designate primary meeting areas and alternate meeting areas in
case of an evacuation.
Be alert for different or strange smells. Alert an adult
Never touch fallen poles or wires.
In case of separation, children should know their family’s personal
information such as: How to spell their full name, their parents’
names, their phone numbers, address, and other appropriate infor-
Every family member should have an “emergency card” which
includes information above plus out-of-state contact.
Know how to contact out of state contact?
Know how and when to dial 911.
Practice Role-playing what to tell the 911 dispatcher.
Practice Role-playing what to do when a parent or caregiver be-
comes suddenly ill or injured
Rehearse Drop, Cover, and Hold-On (Earthquake)
Rehearse Stop, Drop and Roll (Fire)
Notify your children’s school of address changes, phone numbers,
and authorized persons to pick up children.
Find out the emergency procedures of your child’s school.
Survival Supplies are different from a First Aid Kit. A First Aid Kit is part of Survival
Supplies. Imagine that a disaster has occurred, there are no utilities and your house is
not safe to stay in. Survival Supplies will provide both physical and mental relief at a
very stressful time.
Survival Supplies can be stored in a large watertight container that is easily moveable,
like a trash can with wheels. Food and water should be replenished after expiration
There are many items on the list below. Think about situations unique to your family. It
is important to recognize the significance of each item. You may know where these
items are throughout the house, but in the event of an emergency, there is no time to
gather all the items.
Family members should know the location of the Survival
Supplies. For additional supplies got to http://www.ready.gov/america/_downloads/
How much and why?
Water 1 gallon/person/day for three days. People can become dehydrated
quickly, even in cold weather
Food 3 day supply of non-perishables: canned meat, fruit and vegetables;
Utensils cereal, peanut butter; manual can opener, sharp knife utensils, plates,
Battery operated or Hand-Crank Radio Use AM Radio. Listen to KNX 1070 AM, KFWB 980 AM, and KFI 640
AM radio stations for regional emergency alert information for the Los Angeles County area.
Flashlight (s) Batteries should be inserted at time of emergency. Flashlight in rooms could have batteries already inserted.
First Aid Kit Can be purchased at local pharmacy. You can attend to the immediate
first aid needs of your family, including bleeding and burn relief. Look for instructions inside the First Aid Kit.
Whistle One whistle to signal for help.
Duct-Tape; Plastic Sheeting; Dust Mask Duct tape is versatile. Plastic sheeting and duct tape can be used as a
shelter-in-place barrier. Mask is for blocking contaminants
Sanitation/Toiletries Toothbrush, toothpaste; toilet paper; moist wipes; large garbage bags
and shovel for waste disposal
Shut-off wrench, pliers Know where the gas shut-off is; Turn off only in an emergency
Local Maps You should be familiar with evacuation routes.
Clothes Two sets of clothes, undergarments, socks, comfortable, but sturdy shoes. Babies may need more.
Blankets/ Sleeping Bags Enough to cover family member for warmth and comfort.
Medication One week supply. Instant cold packs for refrigerated medications
since you may not have access to refrigeration.
Matches Stored in a water-proof container. Water-proof matches can be
purchased at camping supply stores.
SPECIAL FAMILY SITUATIONS
Things to consider: These may not apply to your family situation.
• Powdered milk
• Moist towelettes
• Diaper rash ointment
MEDICAL NEEDS (ANY AGE)
• Ask your doctor about storing prescription
medications such as heart and high blood pressure medication,insulin and
other prescription drugs.
• Denture needs
• Contact lenses and supplies
FAMILY MEMBERS WITH DISABILITIES
•Do you know the meeting place(s)? Do they need mobility assistance?
•Think about what modes of transportation you use and what alternative
modes could serve as backups.
•If you require special access transportation be
sure your alternatives are also accessible.
•Make a communications plan: Who is the out-of- state contact to be notified?
•A week’s supply of any medications, discuss with
doctor about an emergency situation.
•If routine medical treatments are administered at
a clinic or at home discuss with health practitioner a plan in the event
of an emergency.
•If you have tools or aids specific to your disability, plan how you would
cope without them. For example, if you use a communication device,
mobility aid, or rely on a service animal, what will you do if these are
•If you are dependent on life-sustaining equipment or treatment such as
a dialysis machine, find out the location and availability of more than
•For every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternative procedure.
Make a plan and write it down. Put the plan in an envelope and place it
with your Survival Supplies.
PLANNING FOR YOUR PET
Part of your Family Plan should include your family pet. Having a plan for them will
reduce stress, difficulty and worry that often occurs following an emergency.
PET SURVIVAL SUPPLIES
Water 3 days supply; This is separate from the human supply of water.
Food 3 days supply in an airtight and waterproof container
Medicines and Medical Records An extra supply of medicine that the animal regularly takes Collar with ID, harness or leash
Your pet should be wearing an ID tag at all times. You should keep an extra leash/ harness and ID tag in Emergency Kit.
Also adoption papers, medical and vaccination records should be included. Consider getting a permanent ID, like microchip ID.
Crate or pet carrier A sturdy crate or carrier will aid a safe evacuation for your pet. It should be big enough for the pet to sit, turn around, and
Sanitation Plastic bags; litter box; household bleach for disinfecting
Picture of you and pet In the event of separation, a picture can ease the reunion process.
Familiar Items Toys, treats, or familiar bedding to reduce stress.
• Make plans what you will do in an emergency with your pet.
• Will you stay or evacuate?
• What will you do in the event that you are not home and
cannot get home?
• Can you make plans with the neighbors?
• Below are internet sites with downloadable checklists:
HOME HAZARD HUNT
According to a study from the University of California in Los Angeles (UCLA), 55% of
the injuries during the 1994 Northridge earthquake were caused by falling furniture
or objects. Only one percent of injuries were caused by building damage. Other
injuries were due to people falling or behaving dangerously. Many of these injuries
could have been prevented through actions taken before the earthquake.
As a family, go around your residence and identify areas that need to be secured or
repaired. Here is a suggested checklist. Not all items will apply to your household.
Securely fasten or RELOCATE heavy pictures or mirrors away from beds.
Fasten shelves securely: bookshelves, wall units, and entertainment centers. Ny-
lon/ Velcro straps found at home improvement stores.
Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
Brace overhead light and fan fixtures.
Secure cabinets to wall studs. Use latches designed for child-proofing, earth-
quakes or boat safety to keep cabinet doors from flying open and contents falling.
Secure electronics with nylon/ Velcro straps found at home improvement stores:
Computers, microwaves, televisions.
Secure refrigerator so that it will not fall or move.
Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
Gas and water lines should be flexible.
Store weed killers, pesticides, painting and cleaning liquids away from heat
Place oily polishing rags and waste in covered metal cans.
Secure chimney with sheet metal straps and steel angle bracing to roof rafters.
Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors and gas vents.
Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
Know how, when and where to turn off utilities. Do not practice this on the gas
meter since the gas utility professional must restore service after being turned off.
STAY OR GO?
Depending on the emergency you may decide to go (evacuate) or shelter-in-
place. During some emergencies it is not safe to go outside. You may not
receive information immediately. You should use your battery- operated radio
to learn about updated information. Television and the Internet are good
resources if they are available.
Use AM Radio: Listen to KNX 1070 AM, KFWB 980 AM, and KFI 640 AM
radio stations for regional emergency alert information for the Los Angeles
• Now that you are prepared, what will you do when it happens?
• Make sure that part of your family meeting is what to do during and
immediately after the event.
• What are the emergency procedures at your work?
• What are the emergency procedures at your child’s school?
• Part of the family meeting should include your neighbors. Discuss and plan
with them about what will happen in the event of an emergency.
Stay or Go: Asses the situation
• Is the building appear to be unsafe to remain in?
• Can you return to the building or must you stay somewhere else?
• Administer First Aid and get help for any seriously injured persons.
• If you are at home, check for damages using a flashlight. DO NOT USE
MATCHES OR CANDLES, OR TURN ON ELECTRICAL SWITCHES.
• Check for any fire, electrical, or other household hazards. Check for any
spilled beaches, gasoline, or other liquids that may produce deadly fumes
when mixed, or be a fire hazard.
• Sniff for any gas leaks, starting at the water heater. In the event that you
smell gas, shut off gas at gas meter, open windows, and evacuate the
Shelter-In-Place: Authorities may mandate this strategy
In a biological or chemical emergency, it might be necessary to shelter-in-place
and seal the room. This is considered a short term strategy. Choose a room
with few or no windows. Key points to remember:
• Make sure all family members and pets are inside together.
• Make sure your basic Emergency Supplies Kit is with you.
• You will need your battery operated radio for updates.
• Turn off any type of ventilation or heating systems.
• Seal off any openings, windows, doors, and vents with duct tape and
plastic sheeting. Plastic sheeting should be cut ahead of time. (10’x10’)
STAY OR GO: A “GO BAG”
• You also may be asked to evacuate by authorities.
• If you cannot take your basic emergency supplies kit, at least
take the emergency envelope with your
• important documents and a “GO BAG”
• A “GO BAG” is an individual emergency kit for each family
• These items can be stored in a backpack.
• A “GO BAG” can be stored in an individual’s
• It is recommended that you have a GO BAG for your pet as well.
• You should have a GO BAG in your car.
• Your workplace may also have a type of emergency kit as well.
Essential Items Include:
Individual Emergency Card
Water A couple of 1/2 liter bottles
Non-perishable food Granola bars, crackers
Medication & First Aid Supplies A few days supply
A family photo Identification purposes
A pocket-knife To cut food, duct tape, first aid
A dust mask A contamination protection
A change of clothes, underwear, sturdy shoes A warm top for cold weather or a hat for the sun.
Toothbrush/ toothpaste Travel size is sufficient
Small Amount of Cash Small denominations, and coins
Flashlight with batteries To aid in evacuation or searches.
Whistle So other people can find you
Small battery operated radio To keep updated on disaster
Local Map Know Local Evacuation Routes
Pencil, Permanent Markers, Paper To record information
An Extra Set of Keys Auto/Home
Feminine Hygiene Products Depends on individual
Small Toys, playing cards, books Depends on individual
Earthquakes: Earthquakes damage can extend for miles from the epi-
center. Damages can include collapsed building, bridges, and over-
passes; cracked roadways; downed power lines; broken gas lines; fires;
explosions; and landslides.
Earthquake responses: Duck, Cover, and Hold. Evaluate damages to
structure and humans. Evacuate structure if necessary. Take GO BAG.
Tsunami: A large wave, or series of large waves created by an undersea
disturbance, such as an earthquake or volcanic eruption.
Tsunami responses: Evacuation is necessary. Gas tank should be at
least half-full. A GO BAG should be in the car.
Chemical or Biological Release: A chemical emergency can occur as
an accident or maliciously resulting with a release of chemical agents. A
biological emergency can be a natural outbreak of disease or a deliberate
release of germs or other biological substances.
Chemical or Biological Release Response: Get to a safe area by
evacuating or shelter-in-place (use duct tape and plastic sheeting to cre-
Mudslide: Mudslides are moving rivers of rock, soil, and water. Most of-
ten they are triggered by rain, but also can occur after volcanic activity,
earthquakes, fires, and manmade stress on the land.
Mudslide Response: If there is a threat of a mudslide in your area, you
must evacuate immediately. Take GO BAG
Fires: Fires can spread quickly. In five minutes an entire house can be
engulfed in flames. Often, the heat and smoke can be even more dan-
gerous than the flames.
Fire Response: If you are on fire: STOP, DROP, and ROLL. Evacuate
immediately when you see, hear, feel, smell smoke and/ or fire.
Take GO BAG
For additional ways to be informed before an emergency, visit:
CERT LA is a FREE training offered to adults (18+) Participants
will learn the how to:
• manage utilities and put out small fires
• provide basic medical aid
• search for and rescue victims safely
• organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective, and collect
disaster intelligence to support first responder efforts
It is a 17.5 hour course offered over 7 weeks (once a week) plus bi-annual refresher
courses. Classes are offered throughout City of Los Angeles; all year; various times
of the day. If you have a group of 20 or more, CERT LA can arrange a course for
your business, school, or neighborhood.
LA CERT PHONE NUMBER :818-756-9674
LA CERT web site: www.cert-la.com
CERT course information can be viewed online, but a person cannot be certified with
a CERT certificate until completion of the in-class instruction.
Visit this at http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/IS317/
AMERICAN RED CROSS (ARC) offers classes in Basic First Aid, CPR (Cardio-
pulmonary Resuscitation), Disaster Preparedness, etc.
American Red Cross of Greater Los Angeles can be reached
1-800-627-7000 or /www.RedCrossLa.org or
11355 Ohio Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90025