County Implements Mass Alert System

Los Angeles County officials today announced the implementation of an emergency mass notification system to alert residents and businesses by phone, text, and e-mail of emergencies in their area.

Called Alert LA County, the system will allow the Sheriff’s Emergency Communications Center to activate local and regional alerts by drawing the boundaries of the area to be notified on a computer map. Recorded and written alerts will provide information on the nature of the emergency and necessary actions, such as evacuations.

The system is so precise it will allow the exclusion of a single home, useful in situations involving hostages or crimes in progress.

The County’s 7.1 million land-line phone numbers are programmed into the mass notification system, but the public must register Voice over IP lines, cell phones and e-mail addresses. Registration of this information can be done on the County’s website. Each telephone number and e-mail can be associated with only one street address.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Don Knabe said the system was tested in areas of each of the five supervisorial districts on May 18, and the results were impressive. Tests were conducted in South Whittier (First District), Ladera Heights (Second), Topanga Canyon (Third), a portion of Lakewood (Fourth), and The Meadows and Chaney Trail (Fifth).

The test included approximately 15,000 phone numbers, and a review was conducted to determine the number of calls that were completed and the disposition of each call, whether there was a live answer, answering machine, or busy. The test results were validated by calling a small sampling of those receiving the calls and getting their feedback.

If a call is picked up by an answering machine when an alert is being issued, a recorded message will be left. If the number is busy or does not answer, the number will be redialed twice. The system has the ability to detect and communicate with telecommunication devices for the deaf (TTY/TDD).

The County previously had no consistent way to contact residents and businesses in case of regional or local emergencies, so the new system will assist in making the communities safer, said Supervisor Mark-Ridley Thomas.

How To Protect Yourself During An Earthquake

Learn what to do during an earthquake, whether you’re at home, work or school. Taking the proper actions, such as “Drop, Cover, and Hold On”, can save lives and reduce your risk of death and injury. During earthquakes, drop to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk or table, and hold on to it firmly. Be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.

The area near the exterior walls of a building is the most dangerous place to be. Windows, facades and architectural details are often the first parts of the building to collapse. To stay away from this danger zone, stay inside if you are inside and outside if you are outside.

Use the information on this Focus Sheet to help you become more prepared.

Are You Prepared For An Emergency?

Are you prepared to survive a major earthquake, tsunami, fire, flood, act of terrorism, or other disaster?

This Emergency Survival Program (ESP) brochure provides you with easy-to-follow checklists to help you make the preparations you need. By following these simple guidelines, you can help prepare your family, neighborhood, business or school to be more self-sufficient after the next disaster.

Don’t let the next jolt or disaster catch you unprepared! Join with ESP and get ready for emergencies.

Tips For Dealing With Pets During Natural Disasters

Tuesday’s 4.1-magnitude earthquake in the Hawthorne area inspired the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Los Angeles to issue some tips for dealing with pets during natural disasters.

“Pets depend on us for their safety, food, water and more,” said spcaLA President Madeline Bernstein. “It is imperative to have a disaster plan for your family, pets included. It only takes a little advance preparation.”

Here are some suggestions for how pet owners can prepare:

-Dogs and cats should be microchipped and wear current identification tags at all time.

-If roads are blocked, professional help may not be possible. So learn pet resuscitation and general first aid procedures.

-Try not to display stress and anxiety. Most animals understand their owner’s emotions and can cause otherwise calm pets to display aggressive behavior.

-Check pet structures and favorite hiding places for hazardous debris.

-Display “Pet Alert” signs in doors and windows.

-Keep pet vaccinations current.

-Alert local shelters immediately after discovering your pet is missing.