Forecasters have predicted a wave of wet weather will hit the region this week and whether or not the rain actually hits Santa Monica, local officials are taking the opportunity to educate residents on basic emergency preparedness.
Santa Monica’s Office of Emergency Management has an El Nino preparation brochure available on its website and the Emergency Services Manager, Lt. Robert Almada, said the basic advice holds true no matter what kind of situation is pending: Have a kit, have plan and stay informed.
OEM maintains a library of emergency information online, including instructions for a basic emergency kit.
According to OEM, a basic emergency kit should have enough food and water to last three days to a week (including pet food), a first aid kit, flashlights with extra batteries, a radio with extra batteries, medications (over-the-counter and prescription), cash, important documents, sanitation supplies, hygiene items, spare clothing including sturdy shoes, tools such as wrench, duct tape, fire extinguisher, sturdy gloves and a whistle.
In addition to a kit, Almada encourages residents to take some kind of basic training in first aid, CPR and disaster volunteering. Different programs are offered by the City of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Fire Department and American Red Cross.
Those resources also include help for developing an emergency plan and Almada said residents can stay informed by signing up for alerts at www.smalerts.net.
Almada said he is cautiously optimistic about Santa Monica’s ability to weather an El Nino-related emergency and said his office is currently providing additional information about flood readiness to residents.
“Since we know there’s an El Nino and those generally cause greater than average rainfall, it makes sense for us to be talking about that at this time,” he said.
Basic flood awareness includes staying away from steep slopes that might become unstable when saturated, staying away from flood channels or flowing rivers, avoiding water crossings, staying alert when driving in wet conditions and knowing how to get help if you need it.
Almada said his office uses an “all hazard preparation philosophy” and can provide residents with information on flood, fire, quakes, hazardous materials or any other potential emergency. He said any opportunity to help get people prepared is beneficial.
“We see El Nino as the likely thing that we’ll see next, but that doesn’t mean we won’t see an earthquake,” he said.
Residents who want up-to-the-minute information can check with the National Weather Service for storm advisories at www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox or visit www.publichealth.lacounty.gov for the latest information on beach conditions.
Residents who need sandbags can find them at several locations. Monday through Thursday and every other Friday, residents can go to 2500 Michigan Ave., Building #8, to pick up pre-filled sandbags. All other times, go to any fire station in the City for sandbags. Sand is located at Memorial Park, 1401 Olympic Blvd., in the parking lot next to the tennis courts.
If flooding does occur, residents can call the Water Resources Division at (310) 458-8532 (7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) or (310) 434-2672 after hours.