We cannot schedule our next ‘disaster'. Nor can we predict where the next emergency is going to hit. We also do not know why accidents happen.

But accidents, emergencies, and disasters DO happen. The only things we can control are our reactions and responses to each situation.

The last several weeks have highlighted a plethora of disastrous events, leaving many asking if it could happen here in Lawndale. Although Lawndale could experience a disaster, community response and recovery will vary considerably from gulf coast and southern states' emergency management.

California practices ‘bottom up' emergency management, and the City of Lawndale is no exception. What this means is that a situation is taken care of at the lowest, easiest level. If a problem is bigger than City staff can handle, help is requested from our surrounding South Bay cities and from the County of Los Angeles. (We southern Californians are very good at helping each other out). If several South Bay cities are affected at the same time, the County of Los Angeles is empowered to look for help from other California counties. A truly awesome event, such as a wide spread earthquake on the San Andreas fault line would go beyond our southern cities and counties and involve the entire state of California and its resources to make sure that each local jurisdiction gets the help it needs to meet the challenges at the lowest possible level.

In California, we do not wait on outside (state or federal) help—we have our systems and resource organizations and materials in place just in case. State and federal assistance is used to supplement and fulfill shortfalls because, in a disaster in California, no one goes it alone: we're all in this together!

This is why, over many years, Californians are continually being urged to prepare! Each individual and family should have enough food and water to cover their needs for a minimum of 72 hours. Of course, a week or two worth of supplies would be better; however, in most cases, we already have enough on hand to cover us for several days.

If everybody took a few minutes each week to review their emergency options, to put together emergency evacuation supplies and kits, to take basic emergency courses and practice first aid, cribbing and shoring, and got to know their neighbors, then emergency aid during a disaster would be immediate, coming from neighbor helping neighbor, with no one overlooked or forgotten.

In Lawndale, we are lucky that a hurricane like Katrina cannot happen here: our weather patterns are very different from the gulf coast. Our landscape is also such that massive flooding is not possible. The City has done a lot to improve the drainage systems and modernize our streets to reduce even minimal flooding from our rainy season. We are so far inland and have the type of shallow coastline that decreases the effects of a potential tsunami on our city.

As for ‘neighbor helping neighbor': Lawndale is a city of opportunities for community involvement and volunteers. Please contact the Municipal Services Department at (310) 973-3220 for more information.

Confucius said, “Any journey starts with the first step.” In Lawndale, preparedness starts with awareness.

Site Powered by: Civiclive © 2004-2024