Laguna is infamous for its dazzling oceanfront.However, living beachside has its consequences. Flooding is the #2 hazard, behind wildfires. Just 5 years ago, downtown was flooded and residents were severely impacted. And considering that this year is an El Niño year, heavy rains promise a ‘perfect storm’ for flooding in the late summer or even into 2016. In case of such disaster, Laguna Beach Police Emergency Management Coordinator Jordan Villwock gave us some tips on what you should do before, during, and after a major flood in Laguna Beach.

laguna flooding

Before a Flood:

  • Do not build home on a flood plain
  • Have an Emergency Kit (described here)
  • Ready OC App
    • App works offline and password protected
    • Also a free pdf file download under FIMA which can be kept with Emergency Kit
      • list out of town contacts
      • work information
      • neighborhood meeting place
      • regional meeting place
      • school information
      • family medical contacts
      • social security numbers and date of birth
      • for Authorities
  • Wireless Emergency Alert (similar to Amber Alerts) notify citizens of significant disasters
  • If you are in a flood plain, elevate your furnace, water heater, and electrical panels, making sure they are as high up as possible
  • Get Sandbagssandbags
    • All fire stations have free empty sandbags
    • Sand can be purchased at Ganahl Lumber, the Home Depots of Laguna Niguel and Laguna Woods, or Larry’s Building Materials
    • Do not get sand from the beach, because you may be fined
    • Use the bags to block incoming water
  • Local Businesses
    • 2013 Flood Proofing Contingency Device Requirement for properties in danger zone
    • Out of 180 properties, only 9 are left to get signed off
    • The device is connected into Weather Monitoring System which will tell the businesses to put up flood gates
      • If not fulfilled, you can go to the Code Enforcement Division at the police department or call (949) 497-0301

During a Flood:

  • Listen to the radio and TV for alerts
  • Have phone numbers in AlertOC because this app will provide notifications
  • In the event of a flash flood: move to higher ground immediately. Do not wait for instructions from authorities
    • Be aware of stream/drainage channels/ canyons/ other areas that flood suddenly
    • Be prepared to evacuate
    • Secure home, bring in outdoor furniture, move essential items to upper floors
    • Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves when told to do so by authorities
  • You can stay in your home if it is high enough
  • Driving
    • Avoid water impacted areas. 6 inches to a foot of rain can cause disastrous driving conditions
    • Stay in vehicle if you are strapped but if water rises inside the vehicle, seek refuge by climbing onto your car’s roof through the window
    • Do not camp/park your car in streams, rivers, or creeks
  • Walking
    • Do not walk through puddles/rivers. If you cannot move forward or back, get on your car’s roof
    • Do not walk in water, even very shallow water can knock you down
    • Use a stick to see how firm the ground is and to see the depth, you may not be able to see the bottom

After Flood:

  • Evaluate damage

Stay tuned, more emergency preparedness discussions will be held on the third Monday of each month with Tyler Russell on KX FM 104.7.