Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Residents reminded to pack 10 essential items to be prepared for emergencies

Los Angeles County Department of Public Health
313 N. Figueroa Street, Room 806 · Los Angeles, CA 90012 · (213) 240-8144 · media@ph.lacounty.gov
For Immediate Release:
December 21, 2010

Just Be Ready
Storms remind residents to pack 10 Essential Items to be prepared for

LOS ANGELES - As storms blanket Los Angeles County with heavy rain,
wind, mudslides and flash flooding, the Department of Public Health has
tips on pre-planning for an emergency and cleaning up after disaster
strikes in order to best protect one's health. The storms that have
struck this week have already caused evacuations, unfortunate damage to
homes, and power outages, underlining the importance for every resident
to be prepared.

"Though no one can prevent the forces of nature from affecting our
county, everyone has the ability and the responsibility to prepare for
disasters. This is especially important for those that have special
health or medical needs," said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director
of Public Health and Health Officer. "Having a family communication
plan and an emergency kit can provide the necessary resources to help
you and your family get through many difficult situations, whether it is
a bad storm, fires, or an earthquake."

The 10 Essential Items, as recommended by the Emergency Survival
Program in LA County's Office of Emergency Management, include:
1. Water
2. Food
3. Cash and Important Documents
4. Clothes
5. Flashlight
6. First Aid Kit
7. Medicine
8. Radio
9. Toiletries

These essential items will help ensure that people have access to basic
essentials when other resources may not be available during an
emergency. It is also vital that families put together a Communications
Plan, such as a pre-planned place to meet and a designated out-of-state
contact, in case family members are separated or at work or school when
a disaster strikes.

Safe Clean Up:
Many homes in LA County may have been damaged by flash flooding or
mudslides. In most cases, special precautions do not need to be taken
while cleaning up after flooding or a mudslide, as there is minimal risk
of exposure to chemicals, toxins, or bacteria. Residents should not swim
in, bathe in or use floodwater for cooking or drinking.

If there has been a break in a sewer line, report the break to the LA
County Department of Public Works by calling (800) 675-HELP (4357) or by
visiting their website at http://dpw.lacounty.gov/.

If sewage is overflowing onto a ground surface, over the curb and/or
flowing toward a storm drain, call the Recreational Waters Program
immediately at (626) 430-5360, or call the LA County Operator at (213)
974-1234 (nights and weekends).

Residents should wear sturdy shoes and gloves for protection while
cleaning. Face masks are not necessary. If a job appears to be too big,
hire a professional cleaning service.

Food Safety:
The following is advised to maintain food safety:
● Plastic bottles of liquid, such as water, that have been covered
with mud should be discarded. It is not enough to rinse off the bottle
as these particles contaminate the caps, making them very difficult to
● Food that has not been stored in waterproof or airtight
containers and has been covered with mud should be discarded. This
includes products that have been stored in cardboard or other soft
● Food stored in sealed, previously unopened glass or metal cans
or jars, such as baby food, should be safe for use. Clean before opening
and transfer the contents to another container before eating.
● For those that have experienced power outages, it is best to
throw away perishable food, such as meat, dairy products and eggs. Items
that have defrosted in the freezer during a power outage should also be

For more information on earthquake and disaster readiness, call (866)
999-5228 or the LA County Information Line at 2-1-1. Bilingual staff is
available Monday - Friday, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Additional
information can be found on the Public Health website at

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and
improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles
County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and
services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control,
and community and family health. Public Health comprises more than 4,000
employees and has an annual budget exceeding $750 million. To learn more
about Public Health and the work we do, please visit
http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov, visit our YouTube channel at
http://www.youtube.com/lapublichealth, or follow us on Twitter:

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