High winds, particularly the hot, dry Santa Ana winds that visit Southern California every fall, are another force of nature with which residents must reckon.
High winds can cause structural and nonstructural damage, down power lines and increase the risk of wildfire. In some isolated canyon areas, Santa Ana gusts can reach speeds of more than 100 miles per hour, increasing the threat.
The region averages about 20 tornadoes or waterspouts per year. According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes usually occur along the coast during the cold of winter, but they can occur during the summer.
Wherever you live, work or play, use the recommendations on the this sheet to help reduce your risk of death, injury and property losses from high winds.
Before a Windstorm Take the following actions to reduce your risk of death, injury and property damage:
Develop an emergency plan for your family. It should include name, address and phone number of an out-of-state contact; location of danger spots, such as windows and doors; location of emergency shelter or place where family members can unite; plans for placing pets if family members evacuate.
Check and update emergency supply kits.
Locate utility shut-offs for electricity, gas and water
Teach responsible family members when and how to turn off utilities.
Learn first aid and CPR.
Inventory documents and valuable possessions. Store them in a safe deposit box or another safe location.
Work with representatives from local government and the American Red Cross to identify possible shelter sites.
Check you home and roof for compliance with local building codes.
Secure antennas, satellite dishes and other roof fixtures.
Trim tree branches in contact with or near the roof and other parts of your home.
Conduct practice and evacuation drills.
Make sure your gas tank is full. Power outages might make fuel pumps unusable.
Before or During a Wind Warning
Listen to an Emergency Alert System (EAS) radio or television station (820 AM in Monrovia), and/or purchase a weather alert radio.
During the Windstorm
Take the following actions to reduce the risk of injury:
Evaluate the impact of the winds on the fire hazard in your area.
Go indoors. Avoid areas near windows and doors.
Avoid using elevators. High winds may cause a power outage.
If outdoors, get away from trees, walls, signs, power lines and other objects that could fall and injure you.
Listen to the radio or watch television for information and instructions from local officials.
Use the phone only to report life-threatening emergencies or damage to local officials.
Review emergency and evacuation procedures with family members, including shelter site or meeting place; out-of-state contact.
Prepare to evacuate if asked to do so by local emergency officials.
Drive only in a life-threatening emergency.
Avoid disaster areas.
Cooperate fully with local emergency officials.
After the Windstorm
Check yourself and family members for injuries. Treat those with minor injuries. Transport those with major injuries to the emergency room.
Keep family members together.
Discuss what happened with children.
Check for and document damage and hazards: Broken windows, ceilings, roofs, walls, damaged utilities; downed or damaged trees; downed signs or power lines.