City Prepares for Disaster


n Friday March 2, 2018 (one of the rainiest days in Los Angeles) Mayor Eric Garcetti opened the doors of Getty House to the media, community stakeholders, neighborhood council members, and the myriad of city departments that serve our every need.

The reason for this occasion was the signing of his long- awaited “Resilient Los Angeles” plan.  (Although the plan booklet covers many pages and subjects, it is not a complete plan.) This is the result of the Mayor’s longstanding platform to make sure that this city AND its citizens do three things: 

1 Plan for a major disaster event.

2  Survive and thrive through the event.

3 Recover quickly after the event. 

PLAN:  Although an earthquake is the more popular disaster scenario, we also have weather (mudslides, floods), brush fires, epidemiological/hazardous materials, man-made/terrorist events, loss of our water system, and even long-term and wide spread power outages, among other issues.  

The Resilient Los Angeles project brings attention to the need for residents to begin strategic planning in readiness for these various disasters. 

In the preparation stage, the Mayor’s plan will identify sites for sustainable communities (solar/wind powered) and either setting up communities or find communities without the conventional use of coal electric power, gas.Communities, temporary & permanent, that operate on GREEN energy. This will allow them to flourish even during a major event when conventional power is not available. The preparation stage will also address water and food distribution, information gathering and dissemination, food growth and sales that do not depend on outside commerce. There are also guidelines for a strategy to deal with the homeless and those with mental illness issues. There is also the need for people to know how to take care of themselves in the event that regular city services are unavailable. In doing this, “strategic partnerships” will be formed between the city, business and the community. 

SURVIVE AND THRIVE: The second aspect of surviving and thriving during such an event calls for ordinary citizens to step up, block-by-block, and become stewards of their community. Using the CERT motto, the idea is to have people be able to take care of themselves, their immediate families and their immediate communities on every level. Regular city services will be overwhelmed and unavailable. Preserving lives and property, for that period, will fall on the shoulders of each individual. 

RECOVERY:  Finally, there’s the recovery phase which aims to get this city “back on its feet” in terms of services and business/commerce, which is actually a HUGE KEY to making our region viable again after such an event. Additionally, pointing stakeholders to services such as FEMA’s loan program, or the California Earthquake Authority/Insurance Industry resources is also key. ALL of the city’s key departments are “on the hook” to come up with solutions that will fill most of the empty boxes in the plan. ALL departments have been directed to appoint “Resiliency Liaisons” who will, on a regular basis, meet with and update the Mayor’s Public Safety Office. According to the Mayor, excuses will NOT be acceptable. Most departments have their liaison in place. 

Why is the plan “incomplete”? It’s incomplete because accountability isn’t limited to the department heads of DWP, fire, street Services, and so on. Accountability also will rest at the foot of our community stakeholders and neighborhood councils. Grayce Liu, who is the General Manager of the Department of Neighborhood Empowerment (“DONE”), the body that oversees all of our neighborhood councils, was a key speaker on that day. Ms. Liu stated that ALL neighborhood councils were to select Resiliency Liaisons from their board members and/or stakeholders. Like the city’s paid department heads, these neighborhood council liaisons would be responsible for reporting their progress on the plan. 

In addition to the Resiliency Liaison, neighborhood councils MUST actively work to formulate a plan or series of plans that are customized to their area. You have to keep in mind that what works in West L.A./Palms might not work in West Adams. There is A LOT of work that’s falling onto the shoulders of our neighborhood councils, and those who attended that rainy Friday heard all about it. 

As a member of the LAFD’s CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program, we are automatically built into the plan. If you are a neighborhood council member or board who would like consultation from CERT, contact me and we’ll arrange a meeting. We are a resource; please feel free to reach out. If you are not familiar with the plan, read it here:

Chin Thammasaengsri is the Public Safety Liaison for the Mid City Neighborhood Council and also serves as the South Bureau Coordinator for the LAFD CERT Team. He can be reached 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.
photo credit Mark Rolston
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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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