Natural Disasters

  • 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.
  • 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

      • LMU Facilities Management: 310.338.7779 (or 87779 from a campus phone)
      • LMU 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 LMU Public Safety.

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

        • 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