Know your Risks

Los Angeles is prone to many natural and man-made threats. Los Angeles is particularly vulnerable to the destructive effect of wildfires, flooding, mudslides and earthquakes. Because of the many threats that Los Angeles faces, the importance of readiness as a city and for residents cannot be overstated. Part of disaster preparedness is being aware of the kinds of hazards and disasters you might be subject to living in as a Los Angeles resident. Here’s a list.


California in the “very high risk” category for earthquakes. In fact, California experiences the most frequent damaging earthquakes. The many fault systems running throughout the Los Angeles area can lead to earthquakes of all types and sizes. Many of the buildings have been retrofitted to withstand severe shaking, but you could still face many hazards and dangers.
Large earthquakes create an aftershock sequence that can produce additional earthquakes for many months.

The West Adams area is located in the seismically active region and will likely be subjected to strong grounding shaking.
Small areas along the South Western boundary of the West Adams have been mapped as Alquist-Priolo Earthquake Fault Zones.
These areas contain a mix of single- and multi-family residential, commercial and industrial/manufacturing. A seismic event along a fault zone has the potential to cause surface ground rupture resulting in loss, injury, or death.
The increased intensity of development within certain portions of the West Adams would result in a greater number of people exposed to potential seismic hazards.


General erosion, heavy rains and other factors help to cause landslides. Most common during severe storms, earthquakes, volcanoes and wildfires, landslides can cause injury or even death. Debris and mudflows can occur following heavy rain. They develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry,” a thick fluid that often results from such conditions. They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds. They also can travel several miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars, and other materials.

Portions of West Adams susceptible to landslides are primarily located in the areas between Crenshaw Boulevard, Fairfax and La Brea Avenues along the West Adams southern boundaries. These zones are within the Baldwin Hills area, and adjacent to the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, which are primarily designated for open space and low-density residential uses.

Soil Liquefaction

Soil liquefaction occurs when a saturated or partially saturated soil substantially loses strength and stiffness in response to an applied stress such as shaking during an earthquake, in which material that is ordinarily a solid behaves like a liquid.
Large portions of West Adams are in liquefaction zones.


In the Los Angeles area, wildfires, as well as residential or structural fires, are part of our everyday lives. That’s why it’s important to have a familiar plan, in case a fire should occur.

Residential fires are the third-leading cause of accidental death in the home, with yearly property losses reaching billions of dollars. Cooking, careless smoking, arson and faulty heating are often the cause of fires in the home.

Unpredictable wind conditions in Los Angeles can cause dense brush and dry hillsides and canyons. These fires can move at incredible speeds and their heat can quickly rise to thousands of degrees. One of the best ways to keep these fires a safe distance from your home is to make sure that nearby brush is cleared away, according to city and county regulations. All homes should be equipped with properly maintained smoke detectors and a fire extinguisher that you have been trained to use.

*** Sources: Emergency LACity & West Adams New Community Plan