Storm Preparedness Information

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Rain Falling on Concrete WalkwayWelcome to the Simi Valley Storm Information Page

What Can YOU Do to Prepare? 

Before Storms

  • Property Cleanup: Make a general inspection of your entire property for dead trees or dead limbs, debris, leaves, outdoor furniture, plastic bags, or other objects that could be blown by storm winds. It’s important not to over-trim trees, as improper pruning actually leaves trees more vulnerable. Read more about proper tree care here.
  • Property Drains and Rain Gutters: Make sure all drains and gutters are cleared of debris and functioning properly before the storm season. Storm water runoff from impermeable surfaces (e.g., roofs, driveways, patios, and parking lots) should be directed into a collection system to avoid soil saturation.
  • Roofs: Inspect your roof, or hire a roofing contractor, to check for loose shingles or tiles, holes, or other signs of damage.
  • Retaining Walls: Visually inspect all retaining wall drains, surface drains, culverts, ditches, etc. for obstructions or other signs of malfunction, before the storm season, and after every storm event.
  • Slopes: Visually inspect all sloped areas for signs of gullying, surface cracks, slumping etc. Also inspect patios, retaining walls, garden walls, etc. for signs of cracking or movement (rotation).
  • Bare Ground: Make sure your yard does not have large bare areas that could become sources for mud flows during a storm event. The fall is a good time to put down mulch and establish native plants; it may be possible to plant these bare areas before the storm season.
  • Storm Drains: Visually inspect nearby storm drains, before the storm season and after every rain. If storm drains become obstructed, clear the material from the drain or, if it’s a City maintained drain, notify the City's Public Works Department on-line or by phone at (805) 583-6400.
  • Place Sandbags: Purchase a supply of sandbags, and place them in areas prone to flooding in the past or if the area has been affected by a recent wildfire.
  • Vehicle Tires: Check your car’s tires for wear, tread depth, and proper inflation. The safe operation of your vehicle on wet roadways and saturated streets can be severely impeded if the tires are deficient in any way. A ¼” to ½” of standing water can cause your vehicle to hydroplane.
  • Wipers, Lights, Battery, and Brakes: During a rainstorm is not the time to discover that the sun has dried/cracked the windshield wipers on your car; or your lighting system has stopped working; or the car battery has decided to die; and your brakes are worn. These are weekend fixes that could save your life. Check them before the wet weather arrives!
  • Flood Insurance: Consider purchasing flood insurance. FEMA statistics for our region (which includes California) show that 20% of the claims filed after storms are from Non-High Risk areas. Visit the National Flood Insurance to find out what risk category your property has been rated. Note that it takes 30 days for any new flood insurance policy to take effect.
  • Backup Materials: The worst time to find solutions to rain related issues is in the middle of the storm. Consider storing plastic tarps, buckets, generators, sump pumps, extra sandbags, shovels, and ant/bug spray in a dry covered area…just in case.
  • Emergency Supplies: Assemble emergency supply kits for your home, workplace, and vehicle. Make sure you have flashlights, water, food, a first aid kit, and a portable radio with extra batteries.
  • Keep Fuel in Your Vehicle(s): Power outages caused by storms may make gas station fuel pumps inoperable.
  • Important Documents: Copy important documents (mortgage papers, deed, passport, bank information, homeowners, flood, and auto insurance, etc.). Keep copies in your home, and have a backup for the documentation on a CD, flash drive, with an online service, and/or in a safe deposit box. Take digital photos of your possessions (furniture, antiques, collectibles, musical instruments, electronic equipment, etc.). Store the photos with your other important documents.
  • Alternate Routes: Find different routes to get to work, your children’s school, and the grocery store, and in and out of your immediate neighborhood. Your regular route may be blocked or unsafe to pass through.
  • Stay Informed: Pre-program your television, and bookmark pages on your computer and smart phone so that you can easily monitor weather forecasts and receive updates about road closures, evacuations, shelter locations, etc. automatically. Residents living in Simi Valley can receive emergency alerts via telephone, email, or text message by signing up online at: www.vcalert.org and at: www.nixle.com. Up-to-date Emergency information from the City can also be found at: www.simivalley.org/EmergencyInfo.
  • Tune in: Monitor the City of Simi Valley AM Highway Radio Station at 530 KHz for emergency information and instructions. Other local radio stations are: KWSV 99.1 FM; KVEN 1450 AM,;KBBY 95.1 FM; and KHAY 100.7 FM.
  • Out-of-State Contact: Do you and your family have a disaster plan?  Make sure you have established and maintained an out-of-state contact so that friends and relatives can obtain information about your condition and whereabouts.

Sand and Sandbags

 

Several of the Ventura County Fire Stations in Simi Valley will have sandbags for critical flooding emergencies. To properly prepare for the upcoming storm season, Simi Valley residents are encouraged to purchase sand and sandbags from local merchants that sell these supplies before the need arises.

In the event of imminent critical flooding emergencies, Simi Valley residents may pick up a limited number of sandbags at the Fire Stations listed below. The Ventura County Fire Department will provide sandbags to the extent that's practicable. Sandbags with sand will be available (at Fire Stations) only to property owners where an emergency exists. It is important to note that the Ventura County Fire Department emergency sandbag distribution program is provided based on available resources. For questions about the Sandbag Distribution Program, please contact the Ventura County Fire Department at (805) 389-9710. To contact a fire station directly, please call:  (805) 371-1111, then enter the two-digit station number listed below: 

                Fire Station 41:    1910 Church Street, Simi Valley, 93063 
                Fire Station 43:    5874 E. Los Angeles Avenue, Simi Valley, 93063 
                Fire Station 44:    1050 Country Club Drive (west), Simi Valley, 93065 
                Fire Station 45:    790 Pacific Avenue, Simi Valley, 93065 
                Fire Station 46:    3265 Tapo Street, Simi Valley, 93063 
                Fire Station 47:    2901 Erringer Road, Simi Valley, 93065 

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Tips for the Use and Placement of Sandbags

  • Property owners are responsible for storm preparation and the prevention of damage to their property.
  • Fill sandbags half-full. Use sand if it’s available, but any local soil may be used and, if possible, use close-weave burlap bags.
  • Picture of Sandbags stacked in alternating layersRemove debris and obstructions from near where the sandbags will be placed. Sandbags should be used to redirect the flow, not to dam it.
  • When placing sandbags, fold the top of the sandbag down and rest the bag on its folded top.
  • The half-filled bags should be placed lengthwise and parallel to the direction of the water flow. Firmly stomp on the bags with your feet, or other heavy object, to fill gaps in the bag as they are placed.
  • Do not place sandbags directly against the outer wall of a building. Wet bags can create added pressure on the foundation.
  • Sandbags should be placed in staggered layers. Limit the layers to three unless the sandbags are braced or stacked in pyramids.
  • It takes time to construct a barrier with sandbags. Plan ahead! It’s much easier to place sandbags before being inundated with heavy runoff.

More information about sandbags is also available from Ventura County Fire Protection’s “Ready Set Go” guide.

How many sandbags will you need for 100 lineal feet of wall?

Height Above Ground

Bags Required

Cubic Feet of Sand

1 foot

600-800

10 to 13

2 feet

1,400-2,000

23 to 33

3 feet

2,200-3,400

37 to 57

4 feet

5,300

88

5 feet

7,600

137

6 feet

10,000

167

Sand and sandbags are available for purchase from several local merchants. Price and availability will vary:

  1. Simi Valley Pacific Building Materials: 609 East Los Angeles Avenue (next door to the Regency Plaza Shopping Center), (805) 526-0381
  2. Simi-U-Rent & Building Supply: 2054 Tapo Street (north of Stock Building Supply), (805) 526-5261
  3. Home Depot: 575 Cochran Street (Simi-at-the-Plaza), (805) 577-1825
  4. Lowe’s Home Improvement Center: 1275 Simi Town Center Way (north of Island’s & Famous Dave’s Restaurant), (805) 426-2780 

During Storms

  • Weather Notifications: National Weather Service will issue the following types of Flood Related Alerts on their website (http://forecast.weather.gov/) and on television: 

                            Flash Flood Watch – Flooding is possible in your area 
                            Flash Flood Advisory – Minor or nuisance flooding is imminent or occurring 
                            Flash Flood Warning – Flooding in your area is imminent or already occurring
  • Flash Flood Advisory and Warnings:  Relocate valuables from lower to upper floors. Be prepared to move to a safe area, before flood water cut off access and when local authorities advise, or sooner if you are disabled or take care of someone who is disabled. Disconnect all electrical appliances before evacuating.
  • Downed Utility Poles and Lines:  Keep your distance from downed utility poles, power lines, and electrical wires. Report any of these immediately, stay away, and Call 911.
  • Flooding:  Exercise extreme caution when driving on roads that are flooded or have water flowing across the road surface. Heavy flooding can cause the soil to erode beneath the asphalt; making it difficult to determine the actual depth of the water…it could be dangerously deep! Avoid unnecessary trips.

Yellow caution sign saying When Flooded Turn Around Don't DrownEach year, more deaths occur due to drowning when a vehicle is driven into hazardous flood water. The next highest percentage of flood-related deaths is due to walking into or near flood waters. People underestimate the force and power of water. Many of the deaths occur in automobiles as they are swept downstream. Of these drownings, many are preventable, but too many people continue to drive around the barriers placed to warn you that the road is flooded. A mere 6 inches of fast-moving flood water can knock over an adult. It takes just 12 inches of rushing water to carry away a small car, while 2 feet of rushing water can carry away most vehicles. It is NEVER safe to drive or walk into flood waters. Remember “TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN!”

  • Stay Away:  Do not “play-in” or use detention basins, storm drains and channels, such as the Arroyo Simi, for recreational purposes. These flood control systems are designed to drain storm water from our community and take it swiftly out to sea to prevent local flooding of our parking lots, streets, freeways, etc.

Rain falls on the “watershed” (the hilltops) in and around Simi Valley and flows into underground tunnels, box culverts, and into concrete channels, like the Arroyo Simi Valley. The water gathers debris, volume, speed, and power along the way. At key points throughout the Arroyo Simi Valley, large structures are built into the system to slow down water and control power. These structures are an efficient tool in managing our storm waters, but can be deadly for humans.  Flood control channels are part of our community’s infrastructure. Like roadways and railroad tracks, they should NEVER be used for recreation. About half of all swift water drowning victims are would-be-rescuers. If you see someone in the Arroyo Simi Valley or other channel, CALL 911 immediately. Don’t attempt to rescue on your own. Not only do you risk your life but also the lives of emergency responders as well. Remember: “STAY OUT, STAY ALIVE!”

Evacuation Terminology

Voluntary Evacuation Orders may be initiated by Law Enforcement agencies, Fire Departments, Public Health Agencies, and (in rare cases) federal agencies. Voluntary Evacuation orders are issued when residents should begin preparing for a potential mandatory evacuation order to be issued.  Voluntary Evacuation means:

  • The threat to lives is NOT YET IMMINENT.
  • Due to the potential for rapidly changing conditions to develop into a serious threat, residents are advised to begin preparing for a potential Mandatory Evacuation Order to be issued.
  • Access to the area under a voluntary evacuation order may or may not be restricted by a soft or hard road closure (see definition below).
  • Residents should prepare personal belongings, including pets and livestock, for evacuation.
  • Advance measures should be taken to prevent harm to individuals with mobility issues or other types of access and functional needs.

Mandatory Evacuation Orders may be initiated by any Law Enforcement agency, Fire Departments, Public Health Agencies, and (in rare cases) some federal agencies when residents are requested to vacate the area due to an imminent threat.  Mandatory Evacuation means:

  • Conditions exist that SERIOUSLY IMPERIL or ENDANGER the lives of those in the defined area.
  • The danger is IMMINENT!
  • All nonessential persons are requested to leave the area immediately.
  • Generally, residents will not be forcibly removed from their own property; however, those found to be on public property including roadways and public parks may be subject to removal from the area.
  • Once out of the area, the general public (including residents) will not be permitted to return until conditions permit.
  • Any nonessential persons found by officials traveling through, or loitering in, the area will be escorted out and not permitted to re-enter the area. Those found to be interfering with the disaster response are SUBJECT TO ARREST.
  • Utility workers in work vehicles including Southern California Edison, the Gas Company, etc. shall be permitted beyond closures for official business only.

Shelter-in-Place Orders may be initiated by any Law Enforcement agency, Fire Departments, Public Health Agencies, and (in rare cases) federal agencies.  Shelter-in-Place means:

  • Conditions exist that may ENDANGER the lives of those in a defined area.
  • Access to the area under a shelter in place order may or may not be restricted by a soft or hard closure.
  • Residents should select an interior room or rooms within their home or business with no or few windows and take refuge there. All doors and windows should be locked to prevent unauthorized entry. Wait for an “all clear” notification from local authorities or local news/radio broadcast.

Hard Road Closure means that the general public will be prevented from entering the area on foot or by vehicle by a Law Enforcement agency.

  • In the case of a long-term closure, barricades may be used to maintain the closure in lieu of law enforcement personnel.

Soft Road Closure means that the general public will be prevented from entering the area on foot or by vehicle by a Law Enforcement agency if they do not live in the impacted area.  Access with only be permitted with proper ID.

After Storms

  • Stay away: Areas that have been damaged or affected by floodwaters, mud, or debris flows are DANGEROUS. Do not “sightsee.” Obey all official orders and closures in and around these areas. Keep your distance from downed power lines and broken natural gas lines.
  • Contamination: Avoid flood waters and areas with standing water. Keep children and pets out of these waters when possible. The water may be contaminated by oil, gasoline, or raw sewage. It’s especially important to keep the water out of your mouth, eyes, and nose. Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water if you are exposed to floodwaters.
  • Follow instructions: Local officials will announce whether or not water is safe to drink. Boil or purify water if you’re in doubt.
  • Visual Inspection: Check for structural damage to your home, business or other property. Call your utility companies to restore services.
      1. Water: City of Simi Valley Public Works Department - Waterworks Division  (805) 526-2192
      2. Sewer: City of Simi Valley Public Works Department - Sanitation Division (805) 583-6440
      3. Gas: Southern California Gas Company  (800) 427-2200
      4. Electricity: Southern California Edison Company (800) 611-1911
  • Document: Photograph and list all damaged or destroyed items, including their age and value.
  • Monitor: Storms are dynamic and ever-changing. Listen to the radio, watch television, and check other local official sources of information for instructions. 

Helpful Links and Resources

Current Simi Valley emergency information: www.simivalley.org/EmergencyInfo

Ventura County Fire Department:  Flood Preparation Booklet

Ventura County Fire Department November 18, 2015 Press Release regarding Sandbags

FEMA: Emergency Supply Check List

California Office of Emergency Services: Disaster Supply List

Ventura County Ready Campaign:  www.ReadyVenturaCounty.org

National Weather Service:  www.wrh.noaa.gov/lox/

Ventura County Public Works Watershed Protection Agency: Current Storm Totals: www.vcwatershed.net/fws/

American Red Cross - Ventura County Chapter:  www.redcross.org/local/ca/central/local-chapters/ventura 

Ventura County Animal Services:  Animal Evacuation and Disaster Planning for Livestock Owners

Winter Storm Preparedness Information:  Winter Wise and Power Outage

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