From David Ashman, manager of the city's Disaster Management division:
The recent rainfall serves as a reminder for residents to prepare their homes and families for everything from minor storms to major emergencies.
City of Long Beach Public Works Staff has prepared the city for winter rains by clearing 3,800 catch basins; cleaning and testing 26 pump stations as well as preparing response teams to address other storm related issues.
Here are some suggestions to keep you and your family safe before, during and after a rainstorm, or other significant incident.
Before a Storm
· Keep copies of insurance policies, important documents as well as other valuables in a safe place and in a water resistant container. Consider a safe-deposit box for critical documents or items.
· Consider purchasing flood insurance coverage for homeowners or renters.
· Store emergency supplies and contact information in a handy location at work and home. Consider storing some items in your car as well.
· Build an “Emergency Kit” and make a family Communications Plan. An emergency kit will serve you well in a storm, an earthquake or any other disaster scenario. Visit the following websites for more information on preparing your emergency kit and your communications plan:www.redcross.org, www.fema.gov, or www.calema.ca.gov.
· Keep your car fueled and some cash on hand. If electric power is cut off, filling stations and ATM’s may not be able to operate.
· Know safe routes from your home or office to high, safe ground.
· Consider keeping some water proofing materials handy for emergency repairs, including items such as sandbags, plastic sheeting, plywood or lumber, duct tape, etc.
During A Storm
· Tune to local radio or television stations for emergency information and instructions from local authorities. In an emergency KKJZ 88.1 FM will broadcast information to the Long Beach community.
· Avoid areas that are subject to sudden flooding.
· Do not try to walk across a flowing stream of water where the water is near or above your knees.
· Avoid unnecessary trips. If you must travel during the storm, dress in warm, loose layers of clothing. Advise others of your destination and estimated arrival time.
· Keep pets inside and ensure they have shelter from the storm.
· Be especially cautious driving at night when it is harder to recognize flood dangers. If you are driving:
o Know this - Six inches of water will reach the bottom of most passenger cars causing loss of control and possible stalling. A foot of water will float many vehicles. Two feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles, including sport utility vehicles (SUV’s) and pick-up trucks.
o Do not attempt to drive through a flooded road. The depth of water is not always obvious. The roadbed may be washed out under the water, and you could be stranded or trapped.
o Do not drive around a barricade. Barricades are there for your protection. Turn around and go the other way.
o Slow down for traffic officers at intersections with non-working signal lights. Treat all non-working traffic signal lights at intersections as stop signs. Be aware of utility workers working in or near the road.
o Do not sightsee in flooded areas. Do not try to enter areas blocked off by local authorities.
· If advised by local authorities to leave your home, do not delay leaving. Move to a safe area before access is cut off by floodwater. Before leaving, disconnect all electrical appliances.
After A Storm
· Stay tuned to radio or television for information and instructions from local authorities. In an emergency KKJZ 88.1 FM will broadcast information to the Long Beach community.
· Follow local instructions regarding the safety of drinking water. If in doubt, boil or purify water before drinking.
· Avoid disaster areas; your presence could hamper rescue and other emergency operations, and you may be in danger.
· Do not handle live electrical equipment in wet areas. If electrical equipment or appliances have been in contact with water, have them checked before use.
· You should avoid downed power lines and broken gas lines. Report downed electrical lines immediately by calling 911. To report a broken gas lines, first move to a safe location and then call LBGO at 562.570.2140. If you hear a hissing or a roaring sound and smell an unusual odor, first move to a safe location and immediately call 911.
Don't be caught off guard; get the facts and know the risks. Take action to protect yourself, your family, your business, and your finances — before a weather event occurs and it's too late.
Find additional information on how to plan and prepare for severe storms by visiting the following websites:
· Federal Emergency Management Agency – www.fema.gov
· California Emergency Management Agency – www.calema.ca.gov
· NOAA Watch – www.noaawatch.gov/floods.php
· American Red Cross – www.redcross.org