Emergency Management - Disaster Response Mission

The Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) is designated as the Los Angeles County Operational Area Branch Coordinator for Care and Shelter. DPSS is the Operational Area liaison with private, not-for-profit human services agencies, including Community Based Organizations. DPSS is also the Operational Area liaison with the grocery industry.

DPSS is expected to respond to any natural or man-made disaster or emergency which requires the provision of emergency care and shelter for disaster victims. The definition of a disaster or emergency includes any condition which results in peril to the safety and lives of persons and/or destruction of property. Examples of natural disasters or emergencies include earthquakes, floods, mud slides, and brush fires. Examples of man-made disasters or emergencies include civil unrest, hazardous materials spills, residential or industrial fires, and air disasters.

DPSS manages the Emergency Food Stamp program, when activation is requested by the County and approved by USDA.

DPSS In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) Social Workers conduct health and welfare checks on high-risk disabled and elderly IHSS recipients immediately following a disaster.

DPSS is also the lead County agency for emergency repatriation of American citizens from other countries. Emergency repatriation is activated by the State Department if there is a war or other emergency in another country which requires that American civilians and their dependents immediately return to the United States.

The Role of DPSS Emergency Management Section

As the Los Angeles County Operational Area Coordinator for care and shelter and the Operational Area liaison with the grocery industry and not-for-profit human services organizations, DPSS has an important responsibility in planning for disasters. The DPSS Emergency Management Section has primary responsibility for general Departmental disaster planning to ensure DPSS' ability to conduct business following a disaster, and to support the DPSS disaster missions.

The Emergency Management Section coordinates planning efforts with other agencies, including County support departments, the County Office of Education, the Los Angeles Chapter of the Red Cross, Emergency Network Los Angeles/Los Angeles Voluntary Agencies Active in Disasters (ENLA), the Grocery Industry Mutual Aid Council, and other agencies which share human services responsibilities with DPSS or for which DPSS is assigned County liaison responsibilities.

The Emergency Management Section utilizes a core group of Departmental Operations Center (DOC) staff trained to effectively manage our disaster response and recovery missions. After a major disaster, core DOC staff report to the DPSS Departmental Operations Center to assume predesignated duties under the State's Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS.)  DOC staff provide regular disaster management information to DPSS Executive Management, County Emergency Operations Center Representatives, and other emergency response agencies.

Emergency Management is also responsible for deploying volunteers following a disaster, post-disaster deployment of human services teams to identify and service victim needs, and plans for sheltering people with disabilities and other victims with special needs.

Emergency Survival Program (ESP)

The CAO's Office of Emergency Management has developed a new website with terrorism and general disaster preparedness information to help people prepare for disasters. The new site is located at http://lacoa.org/esp.htm. The current public focus is on terrorism, and the site contains many helpful tips to prepare for a terrorist event, as well as information to help prepare for any disaster, such as earthquakes, fires, and floods. In these times of heightened public awareness of the need to prepare for disasters, we believe that this website provides excellent and timely information. Also included are links to six years of monthly preparedness tips from the award-winning Emergency Survival Program (ESP). ESP is a highly successful program that has helped thousands of people prepare for disasters.
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