Create an Emergency Plan
No one can predict when an emergency will occur and therefore it is important that you have a plan. If you are going to be able to help your neighbors, you need to be prepared yourself.  Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies. Family Disaster Plan Click Here

Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur. ( What to do in an earthquake Click Here)

Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.

Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.

Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.

Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.

Take a Basic First Aid and CPR Class.

Pick two meeting places.
       1.  A place near your home in case of a fire.
       2.  A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.

Keep family records in a water-and fire-proof container.

Map Your Neighborhood

The key to helping in an emergency is in knowing the skills that would be available and any special needs of your neighbors.  Working with your Neighborhood Block Captain, residents should map their neighborhood.  There are four steps in preparing for the potential of a disaster. 

1. Identify the Skills and Equipment each neighbor has that would be useful in an effective disaster response. Knowing which neighbors have supplies and skills helps your disaster response be timely, and allows everyone to contribute to the response in a meaningful way.

2. Create a Neighborhood Map identifying the locations of natural gas, water and power for quick response if needed.

3. Create a Contact List that helps identify those with specific needs such as elderly, disabled, or children who may be home alone during certain hours of the day.

4. Work together as a team to evaluate your neighborhood during the first hour following a disaster and take the necessary actions.

In the event of an emergency this effort will allow you to efficiently focus your efforts and collect information to assist authorities in responding to your needs.  To help organize this effort the following forms are provided.

Household Survey pdf file
Skills and Resident Listings Excel file
Incident report pdf file
Help/OK sign pdf file

Return to top

Preparing For an Emergency
Table of Contents (Click on Subject)

Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit

Escape Plan

Using the Help/OK sign

Home Hazard Hunt

If You Need to Evacuate

Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
L. A. County Fire Department Respone Time
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit
Assemble supplies you might need during the 72 hours or in case of an evacuation.  Store them in easy-to-carry containers, such as a backpacks or duffel bags.

A supply of water (one gallon per person per day for at least three days). Store water in sealed, unbreakable containers. Identify the storage date and replace every six months.

A supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food for at least three days and a non-electric can opener. (Military rations are not recommended, they are high calorie meals designed for very active personnel). Select items that you would normally eat.

A change of clothing, rain gear, and sturdy shoes.

Blankets or sleeping bags.

A first aid kit and prescription medications.

An extra pair of glasses.

A battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries. (Store spare batteries in the refrigerator sealed in a plastic bag.)

Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to construct a shelter

Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation

Feminine supplies and personal hygiene items

Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities

Household chlorine bleach and medicine dropper ( When diluted nine parts water to one part bleach, bleach can be used as a disinfectant.  In an emergency drinking water can be treated by using 16 drops of regular liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented or special bleaches)

Fire extinguisher

Matches in a waterproof container

Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils, paper towels

Credit cards, traveler's checks and cash.

Paper and pencil

An extra set of car keys.

A list of family physicians.

Whistle to signal for help

A list of important family information; the style and serial number of medical devices, such as pacemakers.

Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.

Pet food and extra water for your pet

Escape Plan
In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment's notice. You should be ready to get out fast. Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Under the Bed Items Click Here

Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points.

Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room.

Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire or damaged home. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper.

Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.

Return to Table of Contents                    

Using the Help/OK sign
The Help/OK sign is intended only for use in the event of a major disaster where normal means of communication and power are not available. In a disaster, capabilities such as fire, police, and medical personnel will be overwhelmed and unable to immediately assist individuals.

Your neighbors will likely be the first ones to offer you assistance. After a disaster or major catastrophe strikes the area the first thing to do is check your family members and home and then place the Help/OK sign in your front window visible to the street. If everything is ok display the “OK” sign. If you need assistance display the “Help” sign. This will help your neighbors provide assistance to those who need help in a timely manner.

Return to Table of Contents

Home Hazard Hunt
In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard. Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections. Home Hazard Check list Click Here

Fasten shelves securely. Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves. Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds. Brace overhead light fixtures. Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs. Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.

Getting Ready (Click on Item)
Securing the Water Heater
Wall Hangings
Securing Tall Furniture
Kitchen & Cabinet Safety
Garage & Storage Safety
Structural Mitigation


Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources. Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans. Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.

Return to Table of Contents                    

If You Need to Evacuate
You will receive instructions from local authorities for the location of emergency shelters. Provide this information to your neighbors. Information will also be available on the radio.

Follow instructions of local officials. Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes. Take your Disaster Supplies Kit. Lock your home. Use travel routes specified by local officials. If you are sure you have time: Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so.

Let others know when you left and where you are going. Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not be allowed in public shelters, however the Veterinary Disaster Response Team will provide for your animal’s needs if you are not able to do so.

Return to Table of Contents                    

Prepare an Emergency Car Kit
     Battery powered radio and extra batteries

     Flashlight and extra batteries


     Booster cables

     Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)

     First aid kit and manual

Return to Table of Contents