Natural disasters are occurring more frequently from the multiple hurricanes to the La Tuna fire in Los Angeles and the City’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) wants the public to recognize September is the official National Preparedness Month.
According to Lindsay Barker, Chief Resilience Officer for Office of Emergency Management, the last natural disaster that affected Santa Monica was the Northridge Earthquake in January 1994.
Since then the City has created a Multi- Hazard Functional Emergency Plan that will guide the City’s response during any emergency – whether it be an earthquake, tsunami, or mass casualty incident. “We also have a specialized Tsunami Response Plan. These plans detail how City departments will work together to respond to urgent community needs and work with our local, regional, state and federal partners,” said Barker.
If a tsunami were to hit the Santa Monica area the induction zone could possibly reach Ocean Ave. and Neilson Way, leaving Ocean View Park with excess water and damage.
If and when a disaster hits the City has declared four locations as a safe refuge; Roosevelt Elementary, Santa Monica High School, Olympic High School and Washington Preschool.
The City also uses every major special event as an opportunity to practice emergency plans and protocols. Each Los Angeles Marathon and Twilight Concert Series, there is a large team of City employees and community partners who are using the same emergency response principles to prepare for successful events.
However OEM strongly encourages that locals create their own household emergency plan and discuss their plan with their neighbors or those living in their apartment building.
Barker said, “Neighbors will be a primary first responder in a major emergency event like a catastrophic earthquake, just like we saw neighbors acting as first responders after Hurricane Harvey.”
“We strongly recommend that residents and businesses prepare for an emergency by following four steps: 1) Get a Kit 2) Have a Plan 3) Stay informed and share,” said Barker. “We highly recommend that residents have seven days of disaster supplies in an emergency kit.”
OEM suggests the important supplies include water, non – perishable food, first aid kit, flashlight, radio, and batteries. These supplies will not only help after an earthquake but also smaller emergencies like a neighborhood power outage. Barker went on to explain people should tailor their disaster kit to their unique family. For example, a parent with an infant should include formula and diapers in their disaster kit.
“The next step is for people to create an emergency plan for their household or neighborhood,” said Barker. “Remember texting or email is always preferred over telephone calls and it is often easier to reach someone out of state.”
To stay informed, sign up for official Santa Monica emergency and public safety alerts at https://cityofsantamonica.bbcportal.com/ and join Santa Monica social media pages on Twitter and Facebook. The information outlets will provide individuals with official updates from government agencies.
“We all have to be individually prepared and work together after a major disaster event,” said Barker.