In the wake of large-scale disasters throughout the world, the Pasadena Fire Department reminds all residents to be prepared for the type of disasters and emergencies that could affect Southern California.
The County of Los Angeles, Chief Executive Office, Office of Emergency Management, has published a comprehensive Emergency Survival Guide as part of the County’s Emergency Survival Program, www.espfocus.org. This guide is available for your use by clicking on the adjacent PDF document. The guide was produced by the County’s Office of Emergency Management http://lacoa.org in cooperation with the California Emergency Management Agency, FEMA and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Use this handy guide to help better prepare yourself, family, loved ones, your pets and neighbors for the next emergency.
DISASTER INFORMATION SITES
When a major earthquake or other disaster occurs, chances are that communications will be challenged. Cell towers may fall; electricity for TVs and
computers could be out; media outlets may struggle to get out information and cell phone batteries will only last about a day without re-charging.
How will you ﬁnd out critical emergency information from the City if phones, TVs, computers and the Internet don’t work?
The City has designated ALL Pasadena Fire Stations to serve as “Disaster Information Sites” where key emergency information can be distributed
in person to the public and/or for us to receive info from neighborhood representatives for use at the City’s Emergency Operations Center.
Disaster Information Sites will be activated during widespread emergencies or disasters when other traditional methods of communication become
unreliable or inoperable. Special signs will be posted directing you to the sites.
Disaster Information Sites will be staffed only for emergency public information purposes. Although located outside our Fire Stations, these sites will not be distribution points for food, water or other emergency assistance.
Update Your Student’s Disaster Kit:
Most Pasadena schools ask students to bring personal “comfort kits” to be used when earthquakes and other emergencies happen during school hours. Roads may be closed and the city’s firefighters and police officers will be tending to hot spots. Your children may need to stay at school for awhile until you can get there. Keep them comfy with:
- Extra clothes
- A “space blanket” from a sporting goods store
- A small flashlight with batteries (store batteries separately) or lightsticks
- A travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- Bottled water
- Non-perishable snacks
- A list of medications
- An index card with emergency information
- Comfort items, like a family photo or a note from mom or dad
Label all items and include expiration dates. Discuss your family plan and where you’ll reunite after a disaster. Ask about your school’s disaster plan and how often it is reviewed and updated. For more tips, call 626-744-7276.
Help Children Cope with Disaster:
Children may feel frightened or anxious during or after a disaster or emergency. News coverage with repeated images of disasters can cause fear and confusion. Here are some tips for helping children cope.
- Listen to and understand what your child is saying
- Address your child’s concerns calmly and lovingly
- Answer questions in simple terms without elaboration
- Limit your child’s television news viewing in the first few days after a disaster
Elderly and Disabled
After a disaster, your environment may be very different. Exits may be blocked and sidewalks may be impassable. If you are prepared ahead of time, you will be better able to cope with the disaster and recover from it more quickly.
Make Sure Your Emergency Kit Works for You
In addition to the other items in your emergency kit, consider storing any of these items that may apply to your needs:
- Cane, crutches, walker or manual wheelchair
- Denture supplies
- Batteries for hearing aids
- Glasses with repair kits or contact lenses with cleaning supplies
- Heavy gloves for operating equipment (for caregivers)
- Whistle, loud bell or other alert device and a way for others to notify you
- Instructions for medications and special equipment
- Phone numbers and other contact information for physicians and rehabilitation specialists
- Note pad with pen
- Supplies for your service animal
- Aerosol tire repair kit for wheelchairs or scooters
Make Sure Neighbors and Caregivers are Prepared to Help
Tell your neighbors if you are not able to move well or quickly in an emergency and make arrangements in advance for someone to check on you. Develop a support network of people who will check on you following a disaster; do not depend on only one person.
If you have a personal attendant or home health worker, that person may not be able to help you. Talk in advance with your attendant or home health agency about plans for continued client services following an emergency.
Make Sure You Have the Prescriptions and Equipment You Need
- Never let your prescriptions run out completely. Always try to maintain a three-day supply.
- For all medical equipment that requires electrical power, such as breathing equipment and infusion pumps, check with your medical supply company about a backup power source. This could include a battery pack or generator.
- If you receive dialysis or other medical treatments, ask for a copy of your provider’s emergency plan in advance, including where your back-up site may be located.
- If you rely on oxygen, talk to your vendor in advance about emergency replacements.
Make Sure Your Service Animal is Protected
If you have a pet or service animal, plan for temporary relocations, transportation, etc.
Make Sure You are Able to Evacuate
- Know all usable exits from each room and your building. Make a habit of identifying exits whenever you are in a new location (shopping mall, restaurant, movie theater, etc.)
- Practice dealing with different circumstances and unforeseen situations, such as blocked paths or exits.
- Teach members of your support network how to operate your equipment (how to disengage gears on a power wheelchair, how to lift or transfer you, etc.)
- Include service animals in drills so they become familiar with exit routes.
If you are in a wheelchair during an earthquake, stay in it and go into a doorway that does not have a door. Lock your wheelchair brakes. Cover your head and neck with your hands.
If you are in bed or out of a wheelchair, stay put and cover your head.
Pets enrich our lives in more ways than we can count. In turn, they depend on us for their safety and well being. Here’s how you can be prepared to protect your pets when disaster strikes.
Assemble a Kit for Your Pets
Whether you are away from home for a day or a week after a disaster, you’ll need essential supplies for your pets. Keep a separate kit for your pets next to your own emergency supplies kit. The kit for pets should include:
- Medications and veterinary records
- Sturdy leashes, harnesses and/or carriers to transport pets safely and ensure that your animals can’t escape
- Current photos of your pets in case they get lost during a disaster
- Copies of vaccination and animal license records
- Food, potable water, bowls, cat litter/pan and can opener
- Information on feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues
- The name and phone number of your veterinarian
- Pet beds and toys that are easy to transport
Have a Safe Place to Take Your Pets
- Plan ahead! If you are evacuated to an emergency shelter your pet will not be able to come with you because of state health and safety regulations and other considerations. Service animals who assist people with disabilities are the only animals allowed in shelters. Even the most trustworthy pets may panic, hide, try to escape or even bite or scratch during disasters or when they are transported to a safe place. So be prepared before disaster strikes.
- Contact hotels and motels to check their policies for accepting pets and whether those policies include restrictions on the number, size and species of pets. Ask if “no pet” policies could be waived in an emergency. Keep a list of pet-friendly locations, including phone numbers, with your other disaster information and supplies.
- Ask friends or relatives in nearby regions if they would be willing to shelter your animals temporarily in case of emergency.
- Ask a neighbor in advance if he or she would be willing to take your pets if you are not home when an evacuation order is announced.
- Prepare a list of kennels and veterinarians that could shelter animals in an emergency; include 24-hour phone numbers.
- Ask local animal shelters if they provide emergency shelter or foster care for pets during or after a disaster.
- Make sure your pets have tags with your phone number and their names in addition to any required license tags.
Small animals (hamsters, rabbits, gerbils, etc.) should be transported in secure carriers suitable for maintaining the animals while they are sheltered. Bring bedding materials, food bowls and water bottles.
- Transport your bird in a secure travel cage or carrier.
- In cold weather, wrap a blanket over the carrier and warm up the car before placing your bird inside.
- During hot weather, carry a plant mister to mist the bird’s feathers periodically.
- Bring a few slices of fresh fruits and vegetables with high water content.
- Your snake should be transported in a pillowcase and then transferred to more secure housing when you reach the evacuation site.
- If your snake requires frequent feedings, carry food with you.
- Take a water bowl large enough for soaking.
- Take a heating pad.
- When transporting large lizards, follow the same directions as for birds.
Disaster preparedness is important for all animals but it takes extra consideration for horses because of their size, surroundings and transportation needs.
- Prohibit smoking in and around stables and corrals.
- Keep a fire extinguisher at each stable and corral.
- Make arrangements for a horse trailer in advance in case disaster strikes. If you do not have your own trailer or do not have enough trailer space for all your horses, be sure you have several people on standby to help with evacuation.
- Know where you can take your horses during an emergency evacuation.
- Store your horse’s veterinary papers, photographs and medical information with your emergency supply kit.
- Attach your horse’s name, your name, your telephone number and your veterinarian’s telephone number to the halter.
- Keep an emergency supply kit especially for your horse that includes first aid supplies, water, feed and medications.
- If your horse is unaccustomed to being loaded onto a trailer, practice the procedure in advance.
Earthquakes: Southern California’s Most Prevalent Disasters
An earthquake is a sudden, rapid shaking of the ground caused by the breaking and shifting of rock beneath the Earth’s surface. This shaking can cause buildings and bridges to collapse; disrupt gas, electric, and phone service; and sometimes trigger landslides, avalanches, flash floods, fires and huge ocean waves (tsunamis). Buildings with foundations resting on unconsolidated landfill, old waterways or other unstable soil are most at risk. Buildings or trailers and manufactured homes not tied to a reinforced foundation anchored to the ground are also at risk since they can be shaken off their mountings during an earthquake.
Before an Earthquake Strikes
- Pick “safe places” in each room of your home. A safe place could be under a sturdy table or desk or against an interior wall away from windows, bookcases and tall furniture that could fall on you. The shorter the distance to move to safety, the less likely you will be injured. (Injury statistics show that people moving as little as 10 feet during an earthquake are most likely to be injured.) Pick safe places in your office, school and other buildings that you frequent.
- Practice “drop, cover and hold on” in each safe place. Drop under a sturdy desk or table and hold on to one leg of the table or desk. Protect your eyes by keeping your head down. Frequent practice will help reinforce safe behavior during an earthquake.
- Build a kit. What you have on hand when an earthquake strikes can make a big difference. Plan to store enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least three days.
- Make a plan. Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response. Develop your earthquake preparedness plan and evacuation plan with your family. Inform guests, babysitters and caregivers of your plan. Everyone in your home should know what to do if an earthquake occurs. Assure yourself that others will respond properly even if you are not at home during an earthquake.
- Get training. Arrange for your neighborhood, business or institution to receive Pasadena Emergency Response Team (PERT) training offered by the Pasadena Fire Department. You’ll learn disaster preparedness, first aid, fire suppression and light search and rescue, all or which will be vitally important during and after a major earthquake or other disaster. Call 626-744-7276 to arrange for the training.
- Discuss earthquakes with your family. Everyone should know what to do in case all family members are not together. Discussing earthquakes ahead of time helps reduce fear and anxiety and lets everyone know how to respond.
- Talk with your insurance agent. Different areas have different requirements for earthquake protection.
Protect Your Property
- Bolt bookcases, china cabinets and other tall furniture to wall studs. Brace or anchor high or top-heavy objects. During an earthquake, these items can fall over, causing damage or injury.
- Secure items that might fall, such as televisions, books, computers, etc. Falling items can cause damage or injury.
- Install strong latches or bolts on cabinets. The contents of cabinets can shift during an earthquake. Latches will prevent cabinets from flying open and contents from falling out.
- Move large or heavy objects and fragile items to lower shelves. There will be less damage and less chance of injury if these items are on lower shelves.
- Store breakable items such as bottled foods, glass and china, in low, closed cabinets with latches. Latches will help keep contents of cabinets inside.
- Store weed killers, pesticides and flammable products securely on bottom shelves in closed cabinets with latches. Chemical products will be less likely to create hazardous situations from lower, confined locations.
- Hang heavy items, such as pictures and mirrors, away from beds, couches and anywhere people sit. Earthquakes can knock things off walls, causing damage or injury.
- Brace overhead light fixtures. During earthquakes, overhead light fixtures are the most common items to fall, causing damage or injury.
- Strap your water heater to wall studs. The water heater may be your best source of drinkable water following an earthquake. Protect it from damage and leaks.
- Bolt down any gas appliances. After an earthquake, broken gas lines frequently create fire hazards.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to avoid gas or water leaks. Flexible fittings will be less likely to break.
- Learn how to shut off your gas. Visit www.socalgas.com and click on Safety or call (800) 427-2200.
- Repair any deep cracks in ceilings or foundations. Get expert advice if there are signs of structural defects. Earthquakes can turn cracks into ruptures and make smaller problems bigger.
- Check to see if your house is bolted to its foundation. Homes bolted to their foundations are less likely to be severely damaged during earthquakes. Homes that are not bolted have been known to slide off their foundations; many have been destroyed because they became uninhabitable.
- Consider having your building evaluated by a professional structural design engineer. Ask about home repair and strengthening tips for exterior features, such as porches, front and back decks, sliding glass doors, canopies, carports and garage doors. Learn about additional ways you can protect your home. A professional can give you advice on how to reduce potential damage.
During an Earthquake
- Drop, cover and hold on! Move only a few steps to a nearby safe place. It is very dangerous to try to leave a building during an earthquake because objects can fall on you. Many fatalities occur when people run outside of buildings, only to be killed by falling debris from collapsing walls. In U.S. buildings, you are safer to stay where you are.
- If you are in bed, hold on and stay there, protecting your head with a pillow. You are less likely to be injured staying where you are. Broken glass on the floor has caused injury to those who have rolled to the floor or tried to get to doorways.
- If you are outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings, trees, street lights and power lines. Drop to the ground and stay there until the shaking stops. Injuries can occur from falling trees, street lights and power lines or building debris.
- If you are in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location, stop and stay there with your seatbelt fastened until the shaking has stopped. Trees, power lines, poles, street signs and other overhead items may fall during earthquakes. Stopping will help reduce your risk. A hard-topped vehicle will help protect you from flying or falling objects. Once the shaking has stopped, proceed with caution. Avoid bridges or freeway onramps and offramps that might have been damaged by the quake.
- Stay indoors until the shaking stops and you’re sure it’s safe to exit. More injuries happen when people move during the shaking of an earthquake. After the shaking has stopped, if you go outside, move quickly away from the building to prevent injury from falling debris.
- Stay away from windows. Windows can shatter with such force that you can be injured from several feet away.
- In a multistory building, expect fire alarms and sprinklers to go off during a quake. Earthquakes frequently cause fire alarm and fire sprinkler systems to go off even if there is no fire. Check for and extinguish small fires. If you exit, use the stairs – not the elevator!
After an Earthquake
- Check yourself for injuries. Often people take care of others without checking their own injuries. You will be better able to care for others if you are not injured or if you have received first aid for your injuries.
- Protect yourself from further danger by putting on long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes and work gloves. This will protect your from injury by broken objects.
- After you have taken care of yourself, help people who are injured or trapped. Call 9-1-1, then give first aid when appropriate. Don’t try to move seriously injured people unless they are in immediate danger of further injury.
- Look for and extinguish small fires. Eliminate fire hazards. Putting out small fires quickly using available resources will prevent them from spreading. Fire is the most common hazard following earthquakes.
- Leave the gas ON at the main valve unless you smell gas or think it’s leaking. It may be weeks or months before professionals can turn gas back on using the correct procedures, so only turn gas off if you strongly suspect there is a leak. Explosions have caused injury and death when homeowners have improperly turned their gas back on by themselves.
- Clean up spilled medicines, bleaches, gasoline and other flammable liquids immediately and carefully. Avoid the additional hazard of a chemical emergency.
- Open closet and cabinet doors cautiously. Contents may have shifted during an earthquake and may fall out when you open closet and cabinet doors, creating further damage or injury.
- Inspect your home for damage. Get everyone out if your home is unsafe. Aftershocks following earthquakes can cause further damage to unstable buildings. If your home has experienced damage, get out before aftershocks happen.
- Help neighbors who may require special assistance. Senior citizens and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. If there are caregivers, they may need assistance as well.
- Listen to a portable, battery-operated radio or television for updated emergency information and instructions. If the electricity is out, this may be your main source of information. Local radio may provide the most appropriate advice for your particular situation.
- Expect aftershocks. Each time you feel an aftershock, drop, cover, and hold on! Aftershocks frequently occur minutes, days, weeks, and even months following an earthquake.
- Watch out for fallen power lines or broken gas lines and stay out of damaged areas. Hazards caused by earthquakes are often difficult to see and you could be easily injured.
- Stay out of damaged buildings. If you are away from home, return only when authorities say it is safe. Damaged buildings may be destroyed by aftershocks following the main quake.
- Use battery-powered lanterns or flashlights to inspect your home. Kerosene lanterns, torches, candles and matches may start fires.
- Inspect the entire length of chimneys carefully for damage. Unnoticed damage could lead to fire or injury from falling debris during an aftershock. Cracks in chimneys can be the cause of fires years later.
- For insurance purposes, take pictures of any damage to your house and its contents.
- Avoid smoking inside buildings. Smoking in confined areas can cause fires.
- When entering buildings, use extreme caution. Building damage may have occurred where you least expect it. Carefully watch every step you take.
- Examine walls, floor, doors, staircases and windows to make sure the building is not in danger of collapsing.
- Check for gas leaks. If you smell gas or hear a blowing or hissing noise, open a window and quickly leave the building. Turn off the gas, using the outside main valve if you can, and call the gas company at 800-427-2200 from a neighbor’s home. If you turn off the gas for any reason, it must be turned back on by a professional.
- Look for damage to the electrical system. If you see sparks or broken or frayed wires or if you smell burning insulation, turn off the electricity at the main fuse box or circuit breaker. NEVER step in water to get to the fuse box or circuit breaker; call an electrician first for advice.
- Check for sewage and damage to water lines. If you suspect sewage lines are damaged, avoid using the toilets and call a plumber immediately. If water pipes
- are damaged, call Pasadena Water and Power’s emergency assistance line at (626) 744-7138 and avoid using water from the tap. You can obtain safe water from undamaged water heaters or by melting ice cubes.
- Watch for loose plaster, drywall, and ceilings that could fall.
- Use the telephone only to report life-threatening emergencies. Telephone lines are frequently overwhelmed in disaster situations. They need to be clear for emergency calls to get through.
- Watch animals closely. The behavior of pets may change dramatically after an earthquake. Normally quiet and friendly cats and dogs may become aggressive or defensive. Keep your dog on a leash and in a fenced yard.
El Niño Preparation
As Southern California prepares for El Niño, the City of Pasadena has initiated regular planning meetings with all internal and external stakeholders to prepare for the heavy rains. In the near future, critical information will be provided to assist residents and business owners in protecting their properties.
Here are some helpful tips to get you started for the season.
- Yard Clean-Up Make a general inspection of your entire yard area for dead trees or dead limbs, yard debris, outdoor furniture, or other objects that could be blown by storm winds. It is important not to over-trim trees as improper pruning actually leaves trees more vulnerable. Do not clear out rain gutters or trim trees on a ladder without a spotter
- Drains and Gutters Make sure all drains and gutters are cleared of debris and functioning properly before the storm season. Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces (e.g., roofs, driveways, and patios) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation.
- Roofs Inspect your roof, or hire a roofing contractor, to check for loose tiles, holes, or other signs of trouble.
- Retaining Walls Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.
- Slopes Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or rotation.
- Bare Ground Make sure your yard does not have large bare areas which could be sources for mudflows during a storm event. The fall is a good time to put down mulch and establish many native plants; it may be possible to vegetate these bare areas before the storm season.
- Storm Drains Visually inspect nearby storm drains, before the storm season and after every rain; if the storm drains are obstructed, clear the material from the drain or notify the Public Works Department.
- Emergency Kits Make sure all members of your family have emergency kits in case of power outages
- Homeowners Insurance Make sure it’s updated and you have flood insurance if required
- Sign up for local emergency alerts at www.cityofpasadena.net/fire/PLEAS and www.nixle.com
- Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have a life-threatening emergency.
- Before a rainstorm hits, make sure your roof, retaining walls, etc., are in good shape and that rain gutters and downspouts are cleared of debris.
- Turn off sprinklers and irrigation systems.
- Make sure pets are indoors or have safe cover.
- Unless you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should be prepared to be your own first responder for up to 72 hours.
- Stay indoors during rainstorms if possible.
- Stay away from storm drain channels, the Arroyo Seco flood control channel and any flooded areas.
- If you must drive, be cautious and allow extra time for travel. California law requires that headlights must be turned on whenever windshield wipers are in use, even during daytime hours.
- If you are driving and see flooded roads ahead, turn around. About 80 percent of all flood-related deaths occur when drivers try to navigate flowing water.
- For properties in hillside areas with the potential for mudslides, free sandbags and sand may be available at Fire Station 37, 3430 E. Foothill Blvd; and Fire Station 38, 1150 Linda Vista Ave. Call (626) 744-4675 to ask about availability.
- In case of mudslides or flooding, never stay in an area where raw sewage accumulates and make sure no part of your body touches raw sewage. If you do come in direct bodily contact with raw sewage, consult with your family physician immediately. To report raw sewage, call the Street Maintenance and Integrated Waste Management Division of the Public Works Department at (626) 744-4087. To learn about proper cleaning of a home and personal belongings that have been contaminated by raw sewage, call the Environmental Health Division of the Public Health Department at (626) 744-6004.
- There are a small number of private roads in Pasadena, which are not public property. Owners of private roads are solely responsible for damages due to mudslides and other issues.
- Potential mosquito breeding can be found anywhere there is standing water in discarded tires, rain gutters, containers, decorative ponds and potted plants. Standing water should be emptied immediately after a rainstorm. To report standing water along public streets and sidewalks, call the Environmental Health Division of the Public Health Department at (626) 744-6004.
- Beware of scams. Anyone claiming to be roofers and home-improvement contractors must be licensed and bonded. More information is available on the Contractors State License Board website at www.cslb.ca.gov (click on Consumers). If people claim to be City of Pasadena employees and approach residents with a demand for payment for permit fees, repairs or power restoration, they are scammers. Call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241 if you suspect a scam.
- To report power outages, call (626) 744-4673. To report building damage, call (626) 744-4200. To report a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Check on neighbors who may require special assistance, especially senior citizens, persons with disabilities and minors who are home alone.
- Sign up for local emergency alerts at ww5.cityofpasadena.net/fire/LINK-TBD and http://www.nixle.com.
- Do not call 9-1-1 unless you have a life-threatening emergency.
- Stay home if possible until the wind situation improves. Some roads may be impassable due to fallen trees and/or downed power lines.
- Stay clear of downed power lines and anything touching them. Always assume that a power line is live and hazardous. Downed cable and telephone wires can also be hazardous.
- Unless you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you should be prepared to be your own first responder for up to 72 hours.
- The combination of high winds and dry trees, shrubs and other fuels could create extreme fire danger. During a Red Flag period, parking is restricted on narrow and/or winding roads in hillsides and open-space areas to allow access of fire engines and evacuation of residents.
- The removal and clearing of trees that are not in the public right of way is the responsibility of private property owners. Anyone who suffers damage to vehicles, homes and other property caused by fallen city trees or tree limbs should contact their private insurers for proper handling of claims.
- Secure or store trash cans as well as furniture and other items on patios, porches and yards.
- Do not drive high-profile vehicles that may be blown over by high winds, such as RVs and large trucks.
- If a federal emergency is declared for the Pasadena area, private property owners might be eligible for monetary relief due to windstorm damage. Apply at http://www.fema.gov/assistance or call (800) 621-FEMA.
- Owners of private property damaged during windstorms might be eligible for temporary relief from property tax. Apply on the L.A. County Assessor website.
- Beware of scams. Anyone claiming to be roofers and home-improvement contractors must be licensed and bonded. More information is available on the Contractors State License Board website at http://www.cslb.ca.gov. If people claim to be City of Pasadena employees and approach residents with a demand for payment for permit fees, repairs or power restoration, they are scammers. Call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241 if you suspect a scam.
- To report power outages, call (626) 744-4673. To report fallen or compromised trees in the public right of way, call (626) 744-4321. To report fallen or compromised trees on private property, call (626) 744-4009. To report building damage, call (626) 744-4200. To report a life-threatening emergency, call 9-1-1.
- Check on neighbors who may require special assistance, especially senior citizens, persons with disabilities and minors who are home alone.
- Keep shrubs and trees well-trimmed and make sure they’re planted 18 inches apart. Good choices with high moisture content include citrus, oak and oleander.
- Add at least three inches of non-wood mulch over planted areas to prevent weeds.
- Keep property free of debris that can catch fire, including dead leaves, branches, dried weeds and other vegetation, and firewood.
- If you’re planning a large-scale landscaping project, check with Pasadena Fire Department about current regulations.
- Clean leaves, needles and twigs from roof gutters.
- Soak trees and shrubs once a month to maintain leaf moisture.
- Keep patio furniture, gas barbecues and other flammable objects a minimum of 20 feet away from structures.
- Never toss a lighted cigarette onto the ground, and never walk off and leave a cigarette burning.
- Make sure your emergency kit is stocked and ready, and review your personal and family emergency plans.
- In the event of an evacuation order, be sure to follow the directions of police and fire personnel in your neighborhood. If you have a pet, make sure it has a tag with your phone number and the pet’s name in addition to any required license tags. Evacuation shelters rarely accept animals other than those that assist people with disabilities, so make arrangements in advance with friends or animal shelters in other areas.
Simple Steps That Could Save Your Life:
- Change Your Smoke Detector Batteries – The IAFC and fire experts nationwide encourage people to change smoke detector batteries at least annually. An easy way to remember to change your batteries is when you turn your clock back in the fall. Replace old batteries with fresh, high quality alkaline batteries, such as energizer brand batteries, to keep your smoke detector going year-long.
- Check Your Smoke Detectors – After inserting a fresh battery in your smoke detector, check to make sure the smoke detector itself is working by pushing the safety test button.
- Count Your Smoke Detectors – Install at least one smoke detector on every level of your home, including the basement and family room and, most important, outside all bedrooms.
- Vacuum Your Smoke Detectors – Each month, clean your smoke detectors of dust and cobwebs to ensure their sensitivity.
- Change Your Flashlight Batteries – To make sure your emergency flashlights work when you need them, use high-quality alkaline batteries. Note: Keep a working flashlight near your bed, in the kitchen, basement and family room, and use it to signal for help in the event of a fire.
- Install Fire Extinguishers – Install a fire extinguisher in or near your kitchen and know how to use it. Should you need to purchase one, the IAFC recommends a multi-or all-purpose fire extinguisher that is listed by an accredited testing laboratory such as Underwriters Laboratory.
- Plan and Practice Your Escape – Create at least two different escape routes and practice them with the entire family. Children are at double the risk of dying in a home fire because they often become scared and confused during fires. Make sure your children understand that a smoke detector signals a home fire and that they recognize its alarm.
- Change Your Clock, Change Your Battery – Energizer brand Batteries, the International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) and your local fire department urge you to adopt a simple, potentially lifesaving habit: change the batteries in your smoke detector when you change your clocks back to standard time in the fall.
- Additional Fire Safety Resources – link to Fire Prevention/Safety Resources
Consider The Following:
- Each day in the U.S., an average of three children die in home fires – 1,100 children each year. About 3,600 children are injured in house fires each year. Ninety percent of child fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke detectors.
- Although smoke detectors are in 92 percent of American homes, nearly one-third don’t work because of old or missing batteries.
- A working smoke detector reduces the risk of dying in a home fire by nearly half.
What to do if Your Smoke Detector Begins Ringing or if There is a Fire
- Remain calm and get out. Do not try to fight the fire.
- Call 9-1-1 from a safe place.
- If your clothes catch on fire, STOP where you are, DROP to the ground and ROLL over and over to smother the flames.
- Drop to the floor to avoid smoke and fumes. Crawl to safety.
- Feel the door with the back of your hand before you open it. If it is hot, find another way out.
- If you are unable to get out of your home for any reason, get near a window and stay close to the floor. If possible, signal for help.
Winter Fire Safety:
Pasadena Fire Department offers these tips for keeping your home and loved ones safe:
- Water your tree daily to keep it fresh. Keep it away from heat sources.
- If you have an artificial tree, be sure it is fire-retardant.
- Use only flame-retardant or non-combustible materials.
- Make sure your fireplace or wood stove is in working condition. Have your chimney connections and flues inspected by a professional and cleaned, if necessary, before lighting a fire. Burn only chopped wood – never pine boughs, paper or old gift wrap.
- Don’t set lit candles near young children or pets; keep matches and lighters out of reach.
- Keep indoor and outdoor lights in good shape and check them carefully for burned-out bulbs or frayed cords. Buy a new set if necessary. Don’t overload electrical circuits.
- Always keep a family first aid kit and fire extinguisher on hand.
- When choosing a new space heater, look for the ULC/CSA approval on the box. Make sure the heater shuts off automatically if it tips over.
- Space heaters need space! Keep yours at least three feet away from other curtains, furniture and other objects.
- Never use a space heater as a drying rack.
- Never use a barbecue or hibachi indoors.
Take a Free Course
Are you, your family, neighborhood and business ready for the next disaster?
The Fire Department is offering free Pasadena Emergency Response Team (PERT) training classes designed for neighborhood groups, business associations and/or community-based organizations.
While the Pasadena Fire Department’s goal is to respond to emergencies within five minutes, the gulf coast hurricanes proved this could be out of the question after a major disaster.
If you and your family are able-bodied, you are your own first responders and may have to be self-sufficient for up to 72 hours.
PERT teaches you disaster preparedness, first aid, fire suppression and light search and rescue.
At the conclusion of the course you’ll have the skills you need to help your family and neighbors and you will receive a certificate and official PERT safety hat.
To schedule a class for your group, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (626) 744-7276.
Cardio-Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR)
What is CPR?
- CPR is an emergency first aid procedure for an unconscious person who is not breathing and for whom a pulse cannot be detected. CPR keeps oxygenated blood flowing to vital organs such as the brain and the heart. When initiated within four minutes of an incident, the survival rate is 43 percent; when initiated within four to eight minutes, the survival rate is only 10 percent. The most common reason for CPR is sudden cardiac arrest (heart attack), which can be caused by heart disease, drowning, electrocution, drug overdose and other conditions.
Why Learn CPR?
- Sudden cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Someday you may find yourself in a situation where someone close to you – or not so close – faces a life and death moment. You could make a difference.
- More than 650,000 people die annually from heart attack in the U.S. each year
- More than 350,000 die before reaching the hospital
- When the brain is deprived of oxygen for four to six minutes, brain damage and death begins
- It takes the Pasadena Fire Department an average of four minutes to respond to the scene of an emergency
Who Provides CPR Training?
American Red Cross
San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter
430 Madeline Dr.
Pasadena, CA 91106
American Heart Association
Los Angeles County Division
816 S. Figueroa St.
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Build a Kit
What you have on hand when a disaster strikes can make a big difference. Plan to store enough supplies for at least three days for everyone in your household, including any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities.
- Water – Store at least one gallon per person per day
- Food – Pack non-perishable, high-protein items including energy bars, ready-to-eat soup, peanut butter, etc. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking and little or no water
- Flashlight – Be sure to include extra batteries
- First Aid Kit – Include bandages, sterile gloves, antibiotic ointment and first aid instructions
- Battery-Operated Radio – Include extra batteries
- Tools – Pack a wrench to turn off gas if necessary, manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, pocket knife, whistle in case you become buried in rubble
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Plastic sheeting and duct tape to protect against biochemicals
- Garbage bags with ties in case there are no usable toilets
- Store a change of clothes for everyone in the family
- Sturdy shoes and gloves
- Personal Items
- Remember eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution
- Copies of important papers including ID cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc.
- Comfort items for children such as plush animals and photographs
- Extra prescribed medications
- Sanitary Supplies
- Toilet paper
- Feminine supplies
- Personal hygiene items
- Unscented liquid bleach
- Money – Keep small denominations of cash. ATMS, gas pumps and credit cards won’t work if the power is out. Be sure to keep quarters in your kit to use in pay phones, which may be more reliable than cell phones during a disaster
- Contact Information – Carry a current list of family phone numbers and email addresses. Be sure to include someone from out of the area who may be easier to reach if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded
- Pet Supplies – Include food, water, leash, litter box or plastic bags, ID tags, medications and vaccination information
- Map – Consider marking an evacuation route from your neighborhood
- Store your disaster supplies in a sturdy but easy-to-carry container such as a large backpack or duffel bag.
- Replace certain supplies, such as water and food, every six months.
- Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle. If you become stranded or are not able to return home, having some items with you will help you be more comfortable until help arrives.
Be sure to include evacuation as part of your family emergency plan. Choose in advance several potential places to which to evacuate – a friend’s home in another town, a motel or a shelter that may be identified after a specific emergency incident.
- If you are told to evacuate by local officials, leave immediately.
- Wear sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing
- Take your emergency supply kit
- Lock your home
- Leave a note telling others when you left and where you are going
- Follow all instructions given by public safety official and use only authorized routes
- Once you are safe, call an out-of-state contact with information about where you are and how you can be reached
Plan for how you will communicate with loved ones after a disaster
- Long-distance phone lines often work before local phone lines. Identify an out-of-state contact and provide that person with the contact information of people you want to keep informed of your situation. Share this information with local family, friends and neighbors
- Avoid making non-urgent phone calls after a disaster. Even if phone lines are in good working order, increased phone traffic may jam circuits
- Don’t rely on your cell phone after a disaster. Cell towers may have been damaged or destroyed during the incident; even if a cell tower is not damaged, increased traffic on cell phone networks can quickly overload wireless capacity
- Cordless phones require electricity. Make sure you have a backup phone that requires no electricity
- Keep coins in your emergency supply kit. Pay phones are more likely to work before other phone lines
- After an earthquake, check all your telephones to make sure they haven’t shaken off the hook
Prepare for Power Outages
- Sign up for local emergency alerts at http://ww5.cityofpasadena.net/fire/LINK-TBD and http://www.nixle.com
- If your health depends on medical equipment powered by electricity, send a signed statement on letterhead from your doctor to:
Pasadena Water and Power
Attention: Medical Equipment List
150 S. Los Robles Ave., Suite 300
Pasadena CA 91101
- If you have medication that requires refrigeration, check with your pharmacist for guidance on proper storage during an extended power outage
- Restock your emergency preparedness kit with enough non-perishable food, water, warm clothes, weather protection, hygiene items, medical supplies and additional batteries to last at least 72 hours, bearing in mind that power outages could last weeks in some disaster scenarios
- Keep flashlights, ice chests and manual hand cranks for mobile communication devices on hand, all of which are useful during extended power outages
- If you have an electric garage door, know the process for operating it manually
- Keep a non-cordless telephone in your home. It is likely to work even when power is out
- Always keep your vehicle’s gas tank at least half full. Pumps at gas stations will not be working during power outages
- Keep some cash, preferably in small bills, in a hidden location in your home. ATMs will not be working during power outages Also keep some quarters in a hidden location. If your home and/or cell phones don’t work in a power outage, you may need to find a pay phone in an area where power is on
- Share your emergency communications and shelter plans with family, friends, coworkers and neighbors. Record their contact information on paper and in your cell phone
Stay Safe During Power Outages
- Call 9-1-1 if you have a life-threatening emergency or if someone in your household is on life support
- Call 9-1-1 if you see a downed power line; stay clear of it and anything touching it. Always assume that a power line is live and hazardous. Downed cable and telephone wires can also be hazardous
- Call (626) 744-4673 to report a power outage
- For your security, do not post your outage location in online public forums or social media sites
- NEVER attempt to remove fallen trees that are touching power lines. Pasadena Water and Power (PWP) crews and licensed Arborists have expert training in safely removing trees from power lines
- If a power line falls on your vehicle while you are in it, do not get out of the car. Wait for emergency responders
- If you use a generator during an outage, keep it outdoors and connect it directly to appliances using a heavy-duty extension cord
NEVER connect a generator directly to house wiring; this is extremely dangerous to power crews working on lines and poses a fire hazard to property
- Only PWP is authorized to reconnect service lines to properties and only licensed electricians may repair service panels. For your safety and the safety of PWP crews, NEVER attempt to reconnect power lines or electric service panels.
- NEVER attempt to open boxes at the base of street light poles to string wire from a box to a home or business. The voltage in these boxes is much too high for individual homes. This practice is illegal as well as extremely hazardous to people and structures.
- Unplug appliances, computers, lamps and other electrical equipment to prevent power surges that can damage them. Leave one low-watt light on so you’ll know when power has been restored.
- Keep refrigerator doors closed and, if available, place blocks of ice or bags of ice inside to preserve food freshness. Check food carefully for spoilage before eating.
- Do not use candles indoors. This may result in fire. Use flashlights or battery-operated lanterns instead.
- NEVER use propane- or other gas-powered outdoor cooking or outdoor heating devices indoors. They can emit deadly gases such as carbon monoxide.
- Stay alert while driving. Traffic signals may be out, compromised trees may fall and debris may block roadways. If traffic signals are out, treat them as stop signs.
- Check on neighbors who may require special assistance, especially senior citizens, persons with disabilities and minors who may be home alone.
- Call 9-1-1 if you witness suspicious activity. Criminals may take advantage of power outages.
- Beware of scams. For example, never trust anyone who approaches private property and attempts to collect money for permit fees or restoration of power. Call the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4241 to report suspected scammers.
Terrorism and BIO-TERRORISM: Is Pasadena Prepared?
Pasadena, like every other American city, felt the impact of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and U.S. invasion of Iraq in March 2003.
As we see and hear repeated news stories about war, terrorism and bioterrorism, our community looks for ways to support the nation and each other.
Additional contact information:
Pasadena Public Health Department: (626) 744-6005
American Red Cross, San Gabriel Valley Chapter: (626) 799-0841 or www.sgvarc.org
Los Angeles County Mental Health Crisis Hotline: (800) 854-7771
California Department of Health Services: www.dhs.ca.gov
U.S. Department of Homeland Security: www.dhs.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov
This information was compiled with the help of City of Pasadena key staff, American Red Cross, State of California Office of Emergency Services and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Following are answers to frequently asked questions.
- (1) Many city employees have been receiving specialized training in emergency operations for the past several years. Additionally, the Pasadena Public Health Department and the Pasadena Fire Department have established a coalition of local organizations and agencies (Pasadena Emergency Preparedness Partnership, or PEPP) to improve communitywide coordination of emergency planning, preparedness and response. Coalition participants, who meet on a regular basis, include the American Red Cross, Huntington Memorial Hospital, Kaiser Permanente, several mental health providers and advocates and others.
- (2) City departments, including Fire, Police, Public Health and Public Works, work together as first responders to incidents and disasters.
- (3) The Pasadena Fire Department is prepared to handle a wide variety of incidents involving hazardous materials and search-and-rescue operations and has used grant funding to purchase special equipment for these purposes.
- (4) The Pasadena Police Department’s Counter-Terrorism Section investigates and analyzes possible terrorism activity and works in partnership with local, state and federal agencies and task forces.
- (5) The Pasadena Public Health Department conducts training for the city’s first responders and medical providers in how to detect and respond to biological, chemical, radiological and nuclear terrorism.
- (6) Pasadena Water and Power has done everything possible to ensure the safety and integrity of our energy and water systems.
There is no evidence that any property in Pasadena is a target. There have been no threats or intelligence to suggest that these locations have been in any direct danger.
Pasadena Water & Power (PWP) has a multiple lock system at all critical water facilities. The perimeters are gated and the reservoirs and booster stations are fully enclosed. Access to facilities is limited to authorized personnel only. As part of normal operating procedures, field staff regularly monitor water facilities for potential tampering and maintenance needs, while our in-house Water Quality Lab tests daily for a multitude of contaminants. PWP also communicates with a network of critical agencies including Pasadena Police, Fire and Public Health departments, California Department of Health Services and Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.
A new voice-activated emergency notification system purchased by the Pasadena Fire Department can send information prior to, during and/or immediately after a disaster or emergency to listed and unlisted residential and commercial telephone numbers. This system, updated quarterly, works in conjunction with the reverse 9-1-1 directory.
In addition, all local and regional print and broadcast media, including KPAS, will be alerted with the status of the disaster or emergency. The Emergency Preparedness page on the City of Pasadena web site (www.cityofpasadena.net) will be updated as necessary with new information, emergency telephone numbers, etc.
In the event of an emergency related to our water or power supplies, you may call (626) 744-4138 for up-to-date water information and (626( 744-4673 for up-to-the-minute power information.
Yes. The five threat levels were developed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and they change from time to time depending on intelligence received by the CIA, FBI and other agencies. Be aware that Pasadena is often one level below that set by the federal government.
The current threat level can be found at the top of this page or by calling (626) 744-4000.
Bioterrorism is the use of biological agents, including bacteria, viruses, parasites and biological toxins, to intentionally produce disease or intoxication in a susceptible population to meet terrorist aims.
Diseases associated with bioterrorism can be easily spread from person to person, cause high mortality, cause public panic and fear or require special action for public health preparedness. These include anthrax, plague, smallpox, botulism, tularemia and the viral hemorrhagic fevers such as Ebola. More information about bioterrorism agents and diseases can be found at http://www.bt.cdc.gov/agent/agentlist.asp
In the highly unlikely event that this happens in or near Pasadena, try to remain calm. If you are near the biological substance, whether liquid or vapor, move away immediately and cover your mouth with a folded, wet cloth or surgical mask. If you believe you have been exposed, rinse your skin with warm, soapy water and go to a hospital or doctor’s office immediately.
If you do not believe you have been exposed, turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems; close fireplace dampers; get your disaster supplies kit and make sure the radio is working. “Shelter in place” by going, if possible, to an interior room without windows that is above ground level. Using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents into the room. While sheltering in place, keep listening to your radio or television until you are told all is safe or you are told to evacuate. (You may get more information about sheltering in place by visiting http://www.sgvarc.org or calling the San Gabriel Valley chapter of the American Red Cross at (626) 799-0841.)
The City of Pasadena will make use of KPAS and the city web site whenever possible. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas that may be at greatest risk in Pasadena.
Check with your child’s school now so you can be aware of that school’s emergency preparedness plan. Make sure the school has updated information on you and other designated caregivers.
We are more likely to be impacted by an earthquake than a terrorist incident, but the basic emergency preparedness is the same:
(1) Every household should have a preparedness kit for earthquakes and other emergencies. The kit should be kept up to date and stocked with enough supplies for at least 72 hours of self-sufficiency.
(2) Stay informed; make your decisions and form your opinions based on fact instead of fear. Do not trust verbal and email rumors and do not rely on information found on web sites that are not associated with official agencies. Official web sites include http://www.dhs.gov/dhspublic (U.S. Department of Homeland Security), http://www.oes.ca.gov (State of California Department of Emergency Services), http://www.cdc.gov (Centers for Disease Control) and http://www.redcross.org (American Red Cross).
Some stores and Web sites sell them. But before you buy one, make sure it has all the supplies recommended by the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross sells ready-made kits that are tax-deductible (call 626-799-0841, ext. 407 for more information).
Yes. Take some time now to anticipate the level of assistance you might need in the event of a disaster. For example, will you need help leaving your home or office? If electricity and/or water goes out, will that put you at immediate risk? Do you have a service animal that may need special care? Then create a network of friends, family members and co-workers who are able to assist you at a moment’s notice, and develop a disaster plan with their help. Create a medical information list that includes the names and phone numbers of your doctors, medications, dosage instructions and other details and make sure your network has copies of the list. Ask your physician or pharmacist for a seven-day supply of medications to store in your emergency preparedness kit. Secure or remove furniture and other objects that may block your exit path if they topple. Visit http://www.prepare.org/disabilities/disabilities.htm or call the American Red Cross at (626) 799-0841 for more detailed information.
Please do not be duped into believing you need gas masks. In the extremely unlikely event of a public health emergency involving bioterrorism in this community, the Pasadena Public Health Department and Pasadena Fire Department are prepared to take immediate steps to address it. Gas masks are not designed to protect against biologic agents; they are designed to protect against chemical agents, but only if they are worn at the exact same time the chemical is released. Improper use, incorrect fitting and improper maintenance and incorrect fitting of gas masks can cause serious injury and even death, especially for infants, seniors and people with heart and/or lung problems.
Discuss your family’s disaster communications plan and make sure children know who to reach, how to reach them and where to meet in the event of an emergency.
Reassure children and tell them you will keep them as safe as possible; remind them that authorities have increased security and monitoring so that citizens will be safe; help them express their feelings through letters or drawings; be sure to limit their exposure to news broadcasts and try to remain as calm as possible when you watch the news if children are nearby; encourage older children and adolescents to talk about their feelings and help them find out how to assist your neighborhood association, church or local non-profit organization in this effort.
Visit the Red Cross website for more information.
Be aware that you are not alone. It is reasonable for people to feel anxious about their personal safety. Share your feelings with other adults. If your fear stops you from doing your normal activities, help is available through local agencies and may be available from your health care provider. Call the city’s Public Affairs Office at (626) 744-4755 for a list of referrals.
Arrange for one or more neighborhood meetings and share this information with your neighbors. Make sure you and your neighbors share family emergency plans with each other. Be sure to check on your neighbors in the unlikely event of a terrorist or bioterrorist attack.
The Pasadena Fire Department offers emergency preparedness training for neighborhood associations and Neighborhood Watch groups. Call (626) 744-4675 to arrange for this service.
Within every neighborhood association there should be a number of Neighborhood Watch groups that can disseminate information, services and supplies to their blocks. Neighborhood Watch block captains work with Pasadena Police Department coordinators and can be important points of contact for other city staff and the American Red Cross. For more information about Neighborhood Watch, call (626) 744-4550.
Your preparedness efforts should be similar to that of families and neighborhoods. In addition, make sure you and your employees know how to contact each other in case of emergency; assign one employee from each shift to be the safety coordinator (the American Red Cross can provide training); install emergency lights that will turn on if the power goes out; use surge protectors, back up your computer data often and keep a backup tape off-site; discuss business continuity insurance with your agent.
Visit http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/prepared for more information on how to develop an emergency management plan for your business.
The Great Shakeout
Millions of people worldwide will practice how to Drop, Cover, and Hold On on the third Thursday of October during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills, which began in California in 2008.
All Californians know that we live in earthquake country, but many of us have not experienced a damaging earthquake (such as young people or those that have moved to the region in recent years). Understanding the risks and preparing to survive and recover can help keep your family safe. For more information visit http://www.shakeout.org/california/socalcoast/