Effective disaster preparedness requires an investment from everyone: individuals, schools, businesses and local governments must be empowered to help create safe communities.
Some communities face additional challenges. The places in Southern California where damage is greater after a disaster and people have a harder time recovering are identified as vulnerable communities.
Social vulnerability refers to places that experience a high percentage of people living in poverty, infrequent access to a vehicle or maybe limited educational attainment. Emergency management agencies across California have also built hazard maps that show a community’s risk of damage during a major disaster due to proximity to a fault line, a prevalence of fire-prone brush or densely packed buildings where a home fire can spread quickly.
It is in the places where social vulnerability meets higher risk of hazards that the PrepareSoCal campaign is focusing its efforts.
Volunteers are installing free smoke alarms to reduce the risk of death in a home fire in densely populated areas. Bilingual volunteers are being recruited to help deliver preparedness classes for all ages for families who would not otherwise seek out preparedness information. Experts are bringing CPR and First Aid training to the people who will be the first on the scene when disaster strikes: members of the communities themselves.
In Los Angeles, PrepareSoCal is built around a community-led model called PrepareLA that identifies where socioeconomic, geographic and environmental disaster risks pose a grave threat to the viability of community life. The Red Cross then brings a variety of preparedness programs and leadership to these Communities of Focus.
About Resiliency and Preparedness Coalitions
In Los Angeles County, several Communities of Focus have formed Preparedness Coalitions made up of dedicated individuals from local businesses, government, community-based organizations and faith-based organizations who meet regularly to strategize help the Red Cross bring training and information to their community. Some communities have even taken the next step by forming Resiliency Coalitions, which are Preparedness Coalitions that are actively drafting and working to implement a 4-year resiliency plan with government officials.
Explore the communities below to learn about the progress being made in every kind of Community of Focus as part of the PrepareSoCal campaign.