Natural Disaster Safety Tips

  • Are you prepared for an earthquake in Southern California?

    • If you are inside when an earthquake hits, remember to DROP, COVER, HOLD ON.
    • If you are outside, move to an open area away from buildings, street lights, and utility wires and DROP, COVER, HOLD ON.
    • For a full list of tips and resources on how to prepare for and respond to an earthquake, visit our Earthquake Preparedness page.
  • In the Event of a Power Outage

    • Use flashlights. DO NOT use candles or other types of open flame.
    • DO NOT use elevators.
    • Check elevators to determine if anyone is trapped inside. If so, tell passengers to stay calm, and immediately notify the Department of Public Safety (DPS).
    • DO NOT attempt to force open elevator doors.
    • If the power outage is caused by a weather related incident, remain indoors until the inclement weather subsides. If you must go outside, proceed with caution, protect yourself from falling debris, and beware of downed or damaged power lines.
    • Evacuate the building only if necessary. Generally and especially during inclement weather, it is safest to remain indoors.
    • Unplug and turn off electrical equipment (e.g. desktop computers, laboratory equipment, small appliances).
    • Report any issues related to or resulting from the power outage to DPS.

    Note: During and immediately following a power outage, you may experience delays when attempting to access doors/areas that require card entry.

    Additional Resources

  • What is El Nino?

    According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), El Niño is an oscillation of the ocean-atmosphere system in the tropical Pacific. 

    Characterized by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, it has important consequences for weather around the globe. Among these consequences are increased rainfall across the southern tier of the U.S., which has caused destructive flooding and drought in the West Pacific.

    The National Weather Service has predicted El Niño conditions every 2-7 years, which likely produces more numerous storms (not necessarily more intense storms). 

    When we have two or more consecutive storms, the ground can reach saturation and flooding can occur.

    Before the Storm

    On Campus

    • Check the forecast daily. The National Weather Service is the best resource as it also issues Warnings and Advisories.
    • Close all windows and doors.
    • Ensure there are floor mats at the main exterior entrances to buildings; if needed, call Facilities Management Quality Assurance at 310.338.7779 (or 87779 from a campus phone).
    • Consider designating a receptacle for umbrellas and other rain gear to prevent carpets and floors from getting wet.
    • Be prepared for a power outage.

      Home Preparedness

      • Be sure you have food and water for at least three days, and your emergency kit is up to date. Be prepared for a power outage.
      • Improve drainage around your home—check drains and gutters to be sure they are clear of debris and functioning properly.
      • Consider purchasing flood insurance as many general home owners and renters insurance plans do not include provisions for flood.
      • Ensure your roof is in good shape.
      • Secure patio furniture during storms, and be mindful of yard trims, compost piles and other items in your yard, which could be swept away by water or wind ultimately blocking storm drains.
      • If you live downslope, check with them to be sure they are prepared.
      • Schedule a bulky-items pick up through the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation (800-773-2489) rather than leaving those items on the curb.
      • Keep in mind that the City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation may suspend trash pick up during heavy rain to minimize potential for items (including trash bins) to be swept away and ultimately blocking storm drains.
      • Obtain sand bags if necessary, which you can pick up for free from every Los Angeles Fire Department fire station. Note that not all fire stations carry sand.
      • Visit your local fire station to learn more about specific, potential impacts of flooding in your area.

      During the Storm

      • Keep windows and doors closed.
      • Do NOT try to cross flood waters by foot or in your vehicle. Over half of flood related drownings occur when a vehicle is driven into flood water; the second highest incident causing fatality during storms is people trying to walk in flood waters. It only takes 12 inches of water to lose control of your vehicle, and 6 inches of water to sweep you off your feet. If trapped in your vehicle, stay with it. Only evacuate to the hood of your vehicle if necessary.
      • Be aware that there will likely be more traffic. You can help keep the roadways open for emergency vehicles if you go out only when necessary.
      • Listen to instructions from the Los Angeles Fire and Police Departments. Follow the news and evacuate immediately if orders are given in your area. You may also receive a Wireless Emergency Alert with evacuation orders.
      • Don't leave bulky items at your curb. Wait for the storm to subside; then schedule a pick with the Bureau of Sanitation.
      • Never touch a downed power line. Call 9-1-1 to report it.
      • If a storm drain is clogged or not functioning properly, report it to the Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation at 800-773-2489.
      • Look for tilted trees, telephone poles, fences, and new bare spots on hillsides.

      On Campus

      Report the following to Facilities Management:

      • Active leaks within a building
      • Wet floors within a building
      • Stained ceiling tiles
      • Visible water in light fixtures
      • Bubbling paint on walls or ceiling
      • Standing water at building entry/exit points
      • Excessive standing water on roads, parking lots, or sidewalks.

      Check the status of LMU flood related reports.

      Important Phone Numbers

      • Facilities Management: 310-338-7779 (or 87779 from a campus phone)
      • Department of Public Safety: 310-338-2893 (or 222 from a campus phone in an emergency)
      • City of Los Angeles Bureau of Sanitation Customer Care (24/7 during rain): 800-773-2489
      • LA County Public Works Dispatch Center (for unincorporated areas and contract cities): 800-675-4357


      Consider following these City and County departments on social media for updates and road closure information:

      • LA Emergency Management Department @ReadyLA
      • LA Bureau of Sanitation @LACitySAN
      • LA Department of Water and Power @LADWP
      • LA County @CountyofLA
      • LA County Fire @LACoFDPIO
      • LA County Department of Public Health @laPublicHealth
      • LA County Department of Public Works @LAPublicWorks
      • #LA Rain
    • Fire Safety


      • Keep an ABC extinguisher at home, and learn how to use it.
      • Know where the closest extinguishers and pull stations are located in the areas you frequent on campus.


      First, feel the door with the back of your hand.

      If warm:

      • Wedge a wet towel or cloth item at the base of the door and on air vents.
      • Close as many doors as possible between you and the fire, and stay near the floor.
      • Call 9-1-1.
      • Wave a piece of cloth (e.g. sweater, jacket) out the window to notify rescuers of your location. If there is no window, tap on the wall at regular intervals to alert rescue crews.

      If normal temperature:

      • Open the door slowly.
      • Leave and close the door behind you.
      • Stay close to the ground, if there is smoke.
      • Evacuate and convene at your designated Evacuation Zone. DO NOT use the elevators.
      • When safe to do so, always help those who need assistance.

      Fire or Smoke in your Immediate Vicinity

      • Only if it is safe, should you try to put out the fire yourself using a fire extinguisher.
      • Call 9-1-1.
      • Activate the nearest fire alarm pull station, if safe to do so.
      • If smoke is present, evacuate by crawling to the nearest exit. DO NOT use elevators.
      • Close the door as you leave to contain the fire (if applicable).
      • When safe to do so, always help those who need assistance.

        Once Outside the Building

        • Report to the designated evacuation zone, and position yourself at least 50 feet away from the affected building(s).
        • Check in and stay with your Building Captain, Emergency Response Team member, Resident Assistant or Resident Director.
        • DO NOT re-enter the building until you are authorized to do so by the Los Angeles Fire Department or the Department of Public Safety (DPS).

          Report all fires, regardless of size, and any fire extinguisher that has been used to Public Safety.

        • Tips for Avoiding the Flu

          • Wash your hands often. When soap and water are not available, use alcohol-based disposable hand wash or gel sanitizers.
          • When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. If you don't have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve, NOT your hands.
          • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
          • If you are sick, stay away from other people as much as possible.
          • If you are sick, stay home, get plenty of rest, and check with your doctor.
          • Get the annual flu shot.

          Tips courtesy of the LA County Department of Public Health.

          Need a Flu Shot?

          According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seasonal flu activity can start as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Contact the LA County Department of Public Health for information on how you can get a FREE or low-cost flu shot.

        • Before a Tsunami

          • Plan an evacuation route from your home, school, workplace, or any other place you frequently visit that is in the inundation zone.
          • Learn the natural warning signs of a tsunami:
            • FEEL the ground shaking severely, or for a long time.
            • SEE an unusual disappearance of water, or oncoming wall of water.
            • HEAR a loud roaring sound coming from the ocean.
          • Prepare emergency kits for your home, automobile, and workplace.
            • Make a family communication plan.
            • Be aware and informed.
              • Purchase a hand crank (or battery operated) flashlight and radio, or purchase a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather radio receiver with an alert feature and Specific Area Message Encoding (SAME) to keep you informed of Tsunami Watches and Warnings.
              • Sign up to receive tsunami alerts.

            During a Tsunami

            • If you are at the beach or near the ocean, and you feel the earth shake:
            • Evacuate immediately inland to higher ground, and take shelter. If you are unable to quickly move inland then a high, multi-story, reinforced concrete building may provide a safe refuge on the third floor and above.
            • DO NOT wait for official evacuation orders.
            • RUN if you see a tsunami coming!
            • Stay away from rivers and streams that lead to the ocean due to strong tsunami wave action and currents.

            After a Tsunami

            • Follow the advice of local emergency and law enforcement authorities. DO NOT return until local authorities say it is safe.
            • If the tsunami was generated by a local earthquake, be alert for aftershocks and stay tuned to local radio and television broadcasts for emergency information and recovery assistance.

            Additional Resources

          • Radiological Dispersion Device

            While the explosive blast will be immediately obvious, the presence of radiation will not be known until trained personnel with specialized equipment are on the scene.

            If You're Outdoors

            • Seek shelters indoors in the nearest undamaged building.
            • If no appropriate shelter, cover your nose and mouth and move away from location of explosive blast.
            • Listen for official instructions and follow directions.

            If You're Indoors

            • Turn off ventilation and heating systems, close windows, vents, fireplace dampers, exhaust fans, and clothes dryer vents.
            • Take disaster supply kit and radio to your shelter room.
            • Seek shelter preferably underground or in an interior room of building, placing distance and shielding between you and the outdoors.
            • Seal windows and external doors with duct tape to reduce radioactive particles. Plastic sheets will not provide shielding from radioactivity.
            • Listen for official instructions and follow directions.

            After a Radiological Dispersion Device Event

            • If exposed to radioactive material, decontaminate yourself (remove and bag clothing), shower with soap and water.
            • Continue to listen to your radio and television for instructions from local officials.
            • Do not return to or visit an RDD incident location for any reason.

              Tips courtesy of

            • 3 Factors for Protecting Yourself from Radiation

              • Distance: An underground area such as a home or office building basement offers more protection.
              • Shielding: The heavier and denser the materials between you and the fallout particles, the better.
              • Time: Fallout radiation loses its intensity fairly rapidly. After 2 weeks it has declined to about 1% of its initial radiation level, in which you will be able to leave the fallout shelter.

                Before a Nuclear Emergency

                • Make an Emergency Plan. Make sure to include emergency contact information.
                • Research if any public buildings in your community are designated fallout shelters. If not, make a list of potential shelters near your home.

                  During a Nuclear Emergency

                  • Listen and follow instructions of emergency response personnel.
                  • Take cover as quickly as you can, below ground if possible.
                  • Find the nearest building to avoid any radioactive material outside.
                    • Expect to stay inside for at least 24 hours unless told otherwise by authorities.

                    If you're caught outside and cannot get inside immediately:

                    • Do not look at the flash or fireball – it can blind you.
                    • Take cover behind anything that might offer protection.
                    • Lie flat on the ground and cover your head.
                    • Take shelter as soon as you can.
                    • Remove clothing to keep radioactive material from spreading.
                    • Place contaminated clothing in plastic bag and seal or tie the bag.
                    • Get clean as soon as possible; shower with lots of soap and water. Do not scrub or scratch the skin.
                    • Wash your hair but DO NOT use conditioner because it will bind radioactive material to your hair.
                    • Blow your nose and wipe your eyelids and eyelashes with a clean wet cloth. Gently wipe ears.
                    • If you cannot shower, use a wipe or clean wet cloth to wipe your skin that was not covered by clothing.

                    After a Nuclear Emergency

                    • People in affected areas could be allowed to come out of shelter within a few days and evacuate to unaffected areas.
                    • Those is areas with highest radiation levels may need to take shelter for up to a month.

                    Tips courtesy of