Los Angeles State of Emergency



When you think of an emergency in Los Angeles, you normally think of dialing 911 and getting the Los Angeles Police and/or Fire Department depending on the emergency. 

However, let’s GO BIG and think of REALLY BIG emergencies on the scale of a major earthquake, brush fire, power outage, or man-made event like the 1992 Riots. 

OCT18CHIN
These types of events encompass police, fire, and every other city agency you can think of. This is where the Los Angeles Emergency Management Department (LAEMD) steps in. The department is run by General Manager Aram Sahakian who is a veteran city staffer who’s dealt with major incidents like 2013 shooting at LAX, 2008’s Chatsworth train crash, and the Merk & Senson fires.  

The LAEMD is comprised of five distinct divisions which coordinates specific areas of operation:

- The Administrative Services Division which handles all internal operations, liaisons with non-profits, and provides staff support

-  The Community Preparedness & Engagement Division which handles all community outreach with published materials, appearances, and community meetings

- The Operational Readiness Division is responsible for ensuring the LAEMD & the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) is ready to spring into action when a large scale incident takes place

- The Planning Division handles & maintains plans for the city & department while making sure its own standard operating procedures are up to date

- The Training and Exercise Division ensures that all field responders and those at the EOC are ready to handle & support a major incident


Four of the five divisions are reactionary and are triggered by an incident or incidents when they hit the city. The Community Preparedness & Engagement Division is the “face” we see on a daily basis. You can find members of the department at neighborhood council fairs, street events, and at block clubs/HOA/neighborhood association meetings normally by request of the event organizers. As a member of the Community Emergency Response Team, I have worked with members of the LAEMD for years, have pitched their community plans, and even conducted communitywide practice drills. Our CERT team has a “chair” at the LAEMD’s Emergency Operations Center during a major incident which shows the interconnectivity between our two operations.

As part of the community preparedness & engagement platform, the department has assigned a designated member to serve all of our communities. For those living in TNN’s subscriber area, that would Jon Brown who joined the LAEMD in spring 2018 after several years with the American Red Cross. Jon’s main job as a coordinator is OUTREACH with our community. As I mentioned above, many of their contacts are made through neighborhood councils and area and other high profile events, but you can reach out to Jon simply by picking up the phone. His number is at the end of the article. 

Currently, the department is rolling out its all new RYLAN program. RYLAN stands for “Ready Your Los Angeles Neighborhood” and is designed to help YOU understand your neighborhood by “mapping” it for use (by you and your neighbors) during a major incident. RYLAN is a fantastic program that will allow neighbors to assess the resources that can be used for disaster operations & recovery. It will allow community members to “self-identify” and offer their special talents (plumbers, heavy utility operators, etc.) that can be put to use during this period. The plan also allows you to identify specific gathering & reunification areas where members can gather with their families.  The plan is customizable and simple to use. It can be deployed on a “neighborhood” level which is defined as an area of about 12 homes, but can be customized to be used on a much larger area level. Several communities in our immediate area have reached out to Jon including Grayburn Avenue (Leimert Park), Crenshaw Manor, PicFair (Via CERT), and the Mid City Neighborhood Council (also via CERT). The Mid City Neighborhood Council will be using the RYLAN program as part of an effort to design a LARGE SCALE MAPPING PLAN as per the Mayor’s Resiliency Directive. 

If RYLAN sounds like something you and your community would be interested in, go to the link (http://www.emergency.lacity.org/rylan/about) and study the plan. It will tell you all you need to know and what to do to get the process under way. 

If you are the leader of a block club, neighborhood association, HOA, or neighborhood council, I recommend you reach out to Jon Brown. You can invite him to your meetings and he’ll talk about a multitude of things related to preparedness & safety preparation in Los Angeles. Consider inviting Jon to your block parties and safety related events as well. He comes with his trusty LAEMD tent, will have a table full of outreach materials for your members to enjoy, and will do some great one-on-one. If you’re interested in talking to Jon, call him at (213) 484-4801 or e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 


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Established in August of 2008 by writerartist Dianne V. Lawrence, The Neighborhood News covers the events, people, history, politics and historic architecture of communities throughout the Mid-City and West Adams area in Los Angeles Council District 10.

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