Los Angeles Firefighters Urge Storm Safety and Preparedness

Friday, March 10, 2023

Before rain occurs in Southern California, the Los Angeles Fire Department encourages residents to take the simple steps necessary to protect themselves from injury and their property from storm damage.

Those living near recent brush fires should be aware of the extreme danger possible from debris flows.

Flood After Fire

When rainstorms impact the Los Angeles area, storm drains, canyons, arroyos and other low-lying areas can quickly fill with fast-moving water and debris, creating a life threatening danger.

It is against the law to be inside a flood control channel at any time.

Do You Need Sandbags?



  • Ensure your drains, gutters and downspouts are clean and functioning properly. This is especially important for flat-roofed buildings.
  • Keep stormwater troughs, pipes and culverts on your property free of debris.
  • Closely examine windows, skylights and doors that may benefit from caulking or weatherstripping.
  • Inspect your attic for "leaks" of sunlight, or signs of previous water damage that may indicate where pre-storm repairs are needed.
  • Establish household supplies (bucket, mop, towel, tarpaulin) to minimize damage from a sudden leak or stormwater seepage.
  • Move valuable or easily damaged items away from low-lying areas prone to flooding.
  • Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber, hand tools and other materials handy for addressing sudden stormwater issues.

Get Free Sandbags!

To assist Los Angeles residents with extreme storm needs, the Los Angeles Fire Department provides free ready-to-fill sandbags at ALL Neighborhood Fire Stations, which can be found on this interactive map.

As seasonal conditions warrant, free sand* is also made available at select locations.

* Sand may be desirable, but local soil can also be used to effectively fill sandbags. While the LAFD is pleased to offer free ready-to-fill sandbags and free sand, the Department is not able to fill, deliver, install or remove sandbags.


  • Prepare your household to remain safe (test and pre-position flashlights and battery powered lamps, no candles) and functional (fully charge cell phones, review manual garage door operation) in the event of a storm related power outage.
  • Turn off your yard sprinklers, and lower the level of your swimming pool to prevent overflow and flooding.
  • Secure patio furniture, household waste, trash containers, spills and outdoor storage before they are swept away, spread contamination or block storm drains.
  • Consider the temporary use of plastic sheeting on slopes prone to erosion.
  • Remind all household members not to play or linger near storm drains, catch basins or flood control channels.
  • Keep your vehicle fueled in case power is cutoff to local fueling stations.
  • Prepare your Go Bag! that includes identification, essential documents, phone numbers, prescription eyeglasses and medicine, pictures and irreplaceable memorabilia, personal computer, cash (small bills) and credit cards in case of evacuation.
  • Confirm your evacuation plan, safe destination and temporary lodging plans with family members.
  • If you have family members with special needs, or large / multiple animals, be fully prepared to take action when an evacuation warning is issued.


  • Monitor local news for official warnings and evacuation orders.
  • When Thunder Roars, Go Indoors!
  • Limit non-essential travel, and avoid the urge to sightsee.
  • Have sturdy, sensible shoes with nonskid soles for use in a rainstorm. Pack an umbrella, small flashlight and rain coat.
  • Do not walk through flowing water. Currents can be deceptive; six inches of moving water can knock you off your feet.
  • Remain aware of storm related road closures and transit status.
  • Never drive through a flooded area where you cannot see the pavement, or bypass road barriers.
  • If you become stranded in your car by moving water, stay with your vehicle and move to the hood or roof if water continues to rise.
  • If you see someone in peril in deep or moving water, do not attempt a rescue. Call 9-1-1 immediately and be guided by the dispatcher.
  • If your tap water source is compromised or questionable due to storm damage, be prepared to drink only from your safe bottled water supply.
  • If you lose electric power or see downed electric lines, follow these important instructions to report the problem, restore service and protect your home.
  • If using a portable generator, follow safety instructions and keep your generator outside, at least 25' from any door, window or vent.


City of Los Angeles residents should call 3-1-1 or (213) 473- 3231, use an on-line form or the MyLA311 app to report potholes, downed street trees, damaged or inoperative street lights or traffic signals, clogged street drains and any storm-related property damage or issue requiring an inspection or action by City of Los Angeles officials.


If you become a victim of storm or floodwater damage, please visit LAFD.ORG for helpful flood recovery tips.

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