Before rain occurs in Southern California, the Los Angeles Fire Department encourages residents to take the simple steps necessary to protect themselves from injury and their property from storm damage.
When rainstorms impact the Los Angeles area, storm drains, canyons, arroyos and other sloped or low-lying areas can quickly fill with fast-moving water and debris, creating a life threatening danger.
It is against the law to be inside a flood control channel at any time.
- Monitor real-time Los Angeles weather hazards and warnings.
- View official City of Los Angeles emergency updates.
- Sign up for local emergency alerts (City of Los Angeles = NotifyLA).
- Assure mobile phone settings allow wireless emergency alerts.
- Listen to NOAA Weather Radio or local radio and television news.
*PERSONAL PREPAREDNESS* BEFORE STORM SEASON
- Install the free Red Cross Emergency App and/or FEMA App on your smartphone.
- Inspect and Restock Your Emergency Supply Kit to include food, water, medication, flashlight, battery-powered radio, rain gear, first aid and sanitation supplies.
- Review your Family Emergency Plan, discussing what each person will do in the event of a flood, mudslide or serious storm damage. Be sure to plan for pets, older adults and those with special needs.
- Confirm all household members have details regarding the person who serves as your family's out-of-state emergency contact.
- Review with your family how to safely turn off your home's electric, water and natural gas service in the event of severe storm damage.
- Consider purchasing and learning how to safely use special water management tools, such as a submersible pump, for your home's unique needs.
- Check vehicle wipers, lights, tire inflation and tread wear to assure safe operation in stormy weather.
- Review how to operate your vehicle safely or use public transit in conditions altered by weather.
- Determine if your home is located in a flood hazard or landslide prone area.
- Contact your insurance agent to assure that your flood and storm coverage is adequate and in effect. Confirm your policy number, as well as the 24-hour contact and claim filing telephone numbers for your insurer(s). Place that information in your mobile phone and keep a printed copy with your records.
- Gather and protectively store critical documents and valuables.
- Make a comprehensive narrated "video tour" of your entire home and contents to assist with any future insurance claims or rebuilding efforts. Photograph household possessions, including receipts for major items. Store this home inventory and duplicate records safely off-site.
- Arrange for a certified arborist qualified in tree risk assessment to examine any large trees on your property that could threaten your home or family.
- Assure any hillside or steep terrain on your property has been evaluated for landslide danger by a licensed soil engineer.
- If necessary, consult a licensed contractor to build permanent water and debris control systems for your property.
- Landscape slopes with non-invasive plants that are fire resistant, water wise, suitable for erosion control and allow for smart water retention or reuse.
*HOUSEHOLD PREPAREDNESS* DURING STORM SEASON
- Ensure your drains, gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning properly. This is especially important for flat-roofed buildings.
- Keep stormwater troughs, pipes and culverts on your property free of debris.
- Closely examine windows, skylights and doors that may benefit from caulking or weatherstripping.
- Inspect your attic for "leaks" of sunlight, or signs of previous water damage that may indicate where pre-storm repairs are needed.
- Establish household supplies (bucket, mop, towel, tarpaulin) to minimize damage from a sudden leak or stormwater seepage.
- Move valuable or easily damaged items away from low-lying areas prone to flooding.
- Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, hand tools and other materials handy for addressing sudden stormwater issues.
To assist Los Angeles residents with extreme storm needs, the Los Angeles Fire Department provides free ready-to-fill sandbags at ALL Neighborhood Fire Stations, which can be found on this interactive map.
As seasonal conditions warrant, free sand* is also made available at select locations.
* Sand may be desirable, but local soil can also be used to effectively fill sandbags. While the LAFD is pleased to offer free ready-to-fill sandbags and free sand, the Department is not able to fill, deliver, install or remove sandbags.
WHEN A MAJOR STORM IS *APPROACHING*
- Prepare your household to remain safe (test and pre-position flashlights and battery powered lamps, no candles) and functional (fully charge cell phones, review manual garage door operation) in the event of a storm related power outage.
- Turn off your yard sprinklers, and consider lowering the level of your swimming pool to prevent overflow and flooding.
- Secure patio furniture, household waste, trash containers, spills and outdoor storage before they are swept away, spread contamination or block storm drains.
- Consider the temporary use of plastic sheeting on slopes prone to erosion.
- Remind all household members not to play or linger near storm drains, catch basins or flood control channels.
- Keep your vehicle fueled in case power is cutoff to local fueling stations.
- Prepare your Go Bag! that includes identification, essential documents, phone numbers, prescription eyeglasses and medicine, pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia, personal computer, cash (small bills) and credit cards in case of evacuation.
- Confirm your evacuation plan, safe destination and temporary lodging plans with family members.
- If you have family members with special needs, or large / multiple animals, be fully prepared to take action when an evacuation warning is issued.
FOR YOUR SAFETY *DURING A MAJOR STORM* OR FLOOD
- Monitor NWS Los Angeles Weather Hazards and Warnings.
- Review official City of Los Angeles emergency updates.
- Stay tuned to local news and Wireless Emergency Alert messages for official Evacuation Warnings and Evacuation Orders.
- When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
- Have sturdy, sensible shoes or boots with nonskid soles for use in a rainstorm. Pack an umbrella, small flashlight and rain coat.
- Do not walk or drive through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
- Limit non-essential travel, and avoid the urge to sightsee.
- Avoid parking vehicles near large trees or in low-lying areas prone to flooding
- Know the warning signs of a pending landslide or debris flow.
- Remain aware of storm related road closures and transit status.
- Never bypass road barriers or drive through a flooded area where you cannot see the pavement.
- If you become stranded in your car by moving water, stay with your vehicle and move to the hood or roof if water continues to rise.
- If you see someone in peril in deep or moving water, do not attempt a rescue. Call 9-1-1 immediately and be guided by the dispatcher.
- If your tap water source is compromised or questionable due to storm damage, be prepared to drink only from your safe bottled water supply.
- If you lose electric power or see downed electric lines, follow these important instructions to quickly report the problem, restore service and best protect your home.
- If using a portable generator, follow safety instructions and keep your generator outside, at least 25' from any door, window or vent.
WHAT IF YOU WITNESS STORM DAMAGE?
City of Los Angeles residents should call 3-1-1 or (213) 473- 3231, use an on-line form or the MyLA311 app to report potholes, downed street trees, damaged or inoperative street lights or traffic signals, clogged street drains and any storm-related property damage or issue requiring an inspection or action by City of Los Angeles officials.
WHAT IF YOU EXPERIENCE STORM DAMAGE?
If you become a victim of storm or floodwater damage, please visit LAFD.ORG for helpful flood recovery tips.