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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

Just Two Hours After ‘Warning’ Earthquake, L.A. Fire Department Seizes Moment To Promote Citizen Preparedness

July 29th, 2008 · 4 Comments

Though today’s 5.4 earthquake in Los Angeles was fortunately not too serious, some experts are already saying it was a “warning” of a major one to come.

But the question is whether this warning will actually spur civilian preparedness. That’s why I was happy to see the Los Angeles Fire Department quickly take advantage of the small post-event window today. In fact, just hours after the earthquake damage was judged to be minimal, the Department sent a link to its citizen preparedness guide to its entire email/text message list. But I am not surprised that LAFD acted so quickly and directly since, as I have mentioned before, the Department is a (if not ‘the’) leader in government Preparedness 2.0 communications. 

Below are the two emails that Los Angeles residents (who had signed up) received earlier today. The quake occurred just before noon local time. Less than two hours later, LAFD sent this out:

Subject: [LAFD ALERT] No Significant Eathquake Damage in LA
Date: July 29, 2008 4:48:46 PM EDT

Other than a flooding situation inside one department store in Woodland
Hills, the LAFD has not discovered any significant event (no loss of life,
no serious injury and no major infrastructure damage) IN THE CITY OF LOS
ANGELES following today’s earthquake . The LAFD is now in a normal operating

So within two hours, the Department was communicating directly to the public with clear and complete information. And then just 10 minutes after the all clear came this helpful — and very timely — reminder:

Subject: [LAFD ALERT] Earthquake Preparedness
Date: July 29, 2008 4:58:58 PM EDT

The Los Angeles Fire Department’s free 40 page ‘Disaster Preparedness 
Manual’ is available at: WWW.LAFD.ORG 

If you are in the Los Angeles area or just want to see the state of the art in governmental electronic communications, you can subscribe for free to the LAFD email/text list at

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Tags: City Preparedness · Earthquake Preparedness · Preparedness 2.0

4 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Chino Hills Earthquake « Disaster Media // Jul 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    [...] UPDATE: John Solomon is slowly taking over the Web 2.0 preparedness world, and he’s got the scoop on the LA Fire Department’s reaction to today’s quake here. [...]

  • 2 Why Prepare? Ask (& Watch) The Survivors (Part 2) — The Pinellas County “Project Storm Story” // Jul 30, 2008 at 10:03 am

    [...] Tags Amanda Ripley American Red Cross Blog Roll Brian Lehrer Show Business Roundtable CDC CERT China Citizen Corps David Stephenson DHS Drills Earthquake ESNA-CERT FEMA Flickr Florida Global Warming Go Bags Homeland Security Watch Hurricane Preparedness Joe Becker Jonah Czerwinski Media Models NPR NYC-OEM OEM Partnership for Disaster Response Preparedness 2.0 Preparedness and Business Preparedness Tips Public Opinion Red Cross Rich Cooper Schools Security Debrief Text/Email Alerts The Unthinkable Tips Twitter Washington Post Wendy Harman What Should We Tell The Public WNYC ← Just Two Hours After ‘Warning’ Earthquake, L.A. Fire Department Seizes Moment To Promote… [...]

  • 3 Tom Gilson // Jul 31, 2008 at 12:29 pm

    There’s an important yet very simple earthquake readiness step everyone in a quake zone should take–yet I’ve never seen it in any preparedness literature. I learned it while living at the heart of the 1992 Landers/Big Bear quakes. Watch where you put your glasses, wallet, medicines, and keys. You’re going to need them. Will you be able to find them after your house has gone through a blender?

  • 4 “A Gov 2.0 Pioneer”: The Los Angeles Fire Department’s Brian Humphrey Was Using Social Media Before Social Media Was Cool // Jun 7, 2010 at 11:43 am

    [...] officer who has made the LAFD a leader in the use of governmental social media, particularly in the area of emergency communications. Personally, I have learned a lot from his [...]

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