PASADENA, Calif. -- Rainfall predicted for Southern California?s fire-stripped mountains poses a further threat to lives and property in the form of devastating flooding and mudflows, emergency officials warn.
Rainfall in San Diego averages an inch in December and more than 2 inches per month in January, February and March. In Los Angeles, each winter month typically brings more than 3 inches of rain.
?We fight fires in summer and throw sandbags all winter,? said Mike Hall, federal coordinating officer with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). ?There are a number of steps to take now to get ready for the rainy season.?
California residents, especially those in areas subject to flooding and mudflows, are urged to take the following steps to prepare:
- Get flood insurance if you don?t have it. Flood insurance protects against loss from flooding and mudflows. Homeowners insurance does not. There is a 30-day waiting period for coverage to take effect, so do it now!
- Assemble a disaster supply kit for the home and another for the trunk of your car to feed your family, keep you safe and provide cash for at least three days.
- Develop and rehearse a family disaster plan in case you have to leave your home so that you will know where to assemble and who to keep in touch with a safe distance from the trouble.
- Find the safe places in your home for different types of disasters ? a basement is not a safe place in a flood or mudflow but might be in a windstorm.
- Give a list of emergency phone numbers and all family phone numbers to your extended household.
- Make copies of vital documents such as wills, birth and marriage certificates, tax and financial records and credit card numbers. Keep the originals in a safe-deposit box, one copy of each in a safe place at home and one copy of each with an out-of-town relative or friend.
- Know how to turn off utilities and keep the necessary tools at hand.
- Survey your home for possible hazards.
- Have a battery-powered radio on hand, a NOAA weather radio if possible, and keep the batteries fresh.
- Familiarize yourself with the warning systems and broadcasts on radio and TV.
While you have time now, take these additional steps:
- Make a detailed inventory of your home, garage and surrounding property, with photographs or video. Store copies with the other vital documents away from harm.
- Install flexible pipe fittings to prevent gas or water leaks.
- If appropriate, sandbag or board up to protect your property. Call your county or city public works department, or your fire department, for information. Coordinate with city and county officials and your neighbors so flow diversions do not harm someone else.
For more information about preparing your home, business or school for any emergency, visit www.ready.gov and www.oes.ca.gov. They have loads of reading materials for grown-ups and kids, plus checklists and practice exercises.
To learn more about flood insurance, visit www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-888-435-6637. Flooding is not covered in a homeowner?s insurance policy.
FEMA coordinates the federal government?s role in preparing for, preventing, mitigating the effects of, responding to, and recovering from all domestic disasters, whether natural or man-made, including acts of terror.