Sunday, July 14, 2013

We Were Lucky The Santa Anas Weren't Blowing. Time To Think About Disaster Preparedness *Updated

Photo: Jonathan Vandiveer, July 13, 2013.  In the first minute after the explosion Vandiveer shot this photo from his living room.  (Click on photo to enlarge.) 

Yesterday's tanker fire would have been a major disaster if the Santa Anas were blowing.  The Red Car Neighborhood (Corralitas Drive, Riverside Place, Riverside Terrace, Lake View Ave, Silver Ridge Ave), Semi Tropic Spiritualists' Tract, as well as all of northern Elysian Valley would have been in the middle of a firestorm.

Narrow streets, most of which are dead end streets without City standard or LAFD approved turning radii, in all three neighborhoods, would create havoc and panic, block emergency access, as people try to flee, while other drivers cut through the neighborhood because major streets and freeways would be closed.  
(*Update) Photo: Ricky Dominguez, July 13, 2013.  Gasoline from the tanker fire ran down the storm drains and exploded into the LA River in Elysian Valley, right next to homes, businesses, a bike path & recreational zone.

Today is a good day to think about what you would take with you if you only had a few minutes to evacuate. 

In the news void yesterday, with a huge column of smoke rising from just below my hill, I grabbed my camera, dog (on a leash), purse, portable computer hard drive and keys.  My phone was already in my pocket, sunglasses already on.  In retrospect, I should've also grabbed an inhaler and reading glasses (but those are replaceable).  I had a heck of a time reading texts and emails from neighbors and The Eastsider as I searched for a neighbor's yard with a good view.

My neighbor got her cats into the house ready to evacuate with cat carrier, and was out watering down her trees and patio umbrellas (as were many other neighbors). 

Make a list.  Know what's important and where you keep it.  More than 20 years ago, we had a house fire in the middle of the night.  I knew my list so well (because of emergency earthquake planning), I managed to take the first 8 things on my list and get out the door in 30 seconds.   

On my hill we know our neighbors.  Have a network of neighbors you can check in with if you aren't home.  You may not be able to get home.  I talked to several neighbors who spent several hours trapped in area traffic yesterday. 

The Red Cross has a comprehensive guide to emergency preparedness on their website. 

Some neighborhood Hillside streets are in the Red Flag Day No Parking Zone, we are in CD13.  Learn more & sign up for text & phone alerts from the LA City Fire Dept:

Bookmark the following Twitter feeds on your phone:
CalTrans District 7
CHP Southern Division 
The Eastsider

Yesterday, the first and most accurate news and photos about what was happening in our neighborhoods came from The Eastsider