Los Angeles County, CA

Preparing for the Inevitable in Los Angeles.

The Challenge

Whether it’s a major earthquake, wildfire, relentless heatwave or other disasters, Los Angeles county lives on the brink of the next widespread emergency. When it happens, at-risk populations in three LA communities will be among the most vulnerable:

  • Compton — seniors and individuals with special needs
  • Acton and Agua Dulce — residents scattered across a geographically remote desert area
  • Huntington Park — a large population of non-English-speaking residents.

To persevere in the face of nearly inevitable emergencies, it was critical for these at-risk populations to organize and get prepared to help themselves.

The Approach

Coalitions were organized in Compton, Acton and Agua Dulce, and Huntington Park to address their vulnerabilities by leveraging the four building blocks of community resilience: education, engagement, self-sufficiency and partnerships.


PAC RED was formed to educate residents and stakeholders on the importance of disaster awareness and preparedness by ensuring that emergency planning, training and resources are available to every member of the community. The coalition launched a website with educational videos for the hearing impaired that provided sign-language instructions on summoning police or the fire department during an emergency.

Acton and Agua Dulce

Recognizing the vulnerabilities of their widely-dispersed residents, the Acton and Agua Dolce coalition sought to ensure reliable communications in the case of a wildfire or extreme heat events, particularly extended heatwaves:

  • Established a prominent presence on Facebook, where over 500 community members now share news, promote coalition activities and provide tips on disaster preparedness.
  • Conducted HAM radio trainings for emergency communications.

Huntington Park

A coalition was formed to establish Huntington Park’s first Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training in both English and Spanish, as well as to develop CERT training for local businesses. These initiatives provide education on disaster preparedness and training in search and rescue, disaster medical operations, team organization and fire safety. The coalition also built connections with neighboring communities to share resources and improve communications before and during potential emergencies.

The Progress

Employing the strategies and protocols of the resilience method, each of these communities today has elevated its state of preparedness to face emergencies of virtually any size.

Acton and Agua Dulce

The community achieved the highest score possible in the category of acquiring building supplies in preparation for an emergency. In partnership with city and county representatives, volunteers and coalition members also created the “Residents Guide for Survival,” Acton and Agua Dulce’s very own reference in case of a local emergency.

Huntington Park

To date, 32 residents of Huntington Park have been certified in Spanish CERT. In addition, the coalition has launched a disaster-readiness website that provides education and inspires action by highlighting citizens who’ve taken action to help prepare the community for any emergency.

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