Emergency Types

Emergency types image showing hands protecting two people represented by wooden pieces as dominos fall around them.

Emergency Management encompasses four phases of action: mitigation, preparedness, response, and recovery. In mitigation and preparedness, risks are identified and resources are provided to the community to educate and prepare individuals for the potential risks.

Here are several types of emergency situations citizens may face when living, working or visiting Los Alamos County:

Weather Emergencies

Weather Emergencies

Northern New Mexico is prone to winter weather and when snow seems likely, listen to forecasts on radio or television, tune into NOAA Weather Radio, or visit the National Weather Service website.

Due to the altitude in Los Alamos County, we highly recommend citizens be prepared for winter storms, including the possibility of 2-3 days of isolation due to above-normal snow pack.

Prepare your family and home for winter emergencies by weatherizing your home and your automobiles, and be sure to create a disaster supplies kit.

More information is available at:


Cold Weather Tips for Pets(PDF, 87KB)

What is monsoon season, and how should I prepare?

What is monsoon season?

Monsoon season in New Mexico starts in June and lasts through mid-September. It is characterized by heavy to severe downpours, lasting anywhere from five minutes to an hour. Such downpours can create a phenomenon known as flash floods.

What are flash floods?

Flash floods are just that; intense, short-duration floods. Usually they abate in an hour, but can last as long as 24 hours. They occur throughout the southwest, and generally start high up in a mountain or canyon. Rain torrents follow the path of least resistance, initially canyons and arroyos. But along the way they pick up speed and debris. They can roll boulders, destroy footbridges, and uproot cottonwoods and piñons.

Tips for staying safe during monsoon season:
  • Check the daily weather forecast when making plans to be outdoors.

  • When hiking or out and about in the mountains, stay alert to the possibilities of flash flooding if severe weather threatens, especially during the afternoons when showers are most likely. A good rule of thumb: if it starts to storm, hike to high ground! You do not want to be in a canyon, arroyo, or wash in a heavy rainstorm.

  • Keep others informed of your plans.

  • Remember, just because it isn’t raining where you are doesn’t mean you aren’t in danger. If you are below the storm in any way, floodwater and debris could be upon you within minutes.

  • Keep pets and children out of the canyons and arroyos during the monsoon season. Talk to your children about the dangers of playing in or near canyon streams and arroyos when it storms.

  • Never walk or drive through floodwaters of any depth – you don't know if the road underneath is still there. Find a safer route or wait until floodwaters subside completely. Six inches of fast-flowing water is enough to sweep you off your feet. Two feet of flowing water can float away most cars.

  • If flooding occurs in your neighborhood, please remain calm and shelter in place. While some sections of town may become isolated for a time, flash floods recede quickly and access will be restored soon. It is essential that nobody panic, attempt to cross running waters, or enter unsafe areas.

  • Keep in mind that flash floods are high-intensity but short-duration events. They seldom last longer than one hour. Even if some areas are temporarily isolated, emergency responders will be monitoring the situation and standing by to lend assistance as soon as possible.

Fire Emergencies

Fire Weather

View the fire weather outlook for our area: 

Updates on wildfires in NM:

NM Fire Info

Updates on fires outside NM:

Southwest Coordination Center

Fire Restrictions & Closures in NM State Parks:

NM State Parks

The Interagency Fire Restriction hotline for information on fire restrictions in New Mexico and Arizona is toll-free 1-877-864-6985. Drill-down menu options include info on restrictions in national forest, state, and other federal lands.

Wildfires, Monsoons and Severe Weather: Resource Links

What can you do to make your home defensible?

Wildfires: Is Your Home Defensible?

Monsoon season in New Mexico starts in June and lasts through mid-September, find out how it effects you.

Find information concerning Severe Thunderstorm Watches and Warnings:

Thunderstorm Safety

Weather information including Doppler radar images, including alerts, watches and warnings from the National Weather Service
(Be sure to check the date and time to make sure it is current.) 

Los Alamos Weather

National Weather Service Home Page (NWS)

Specialized Services Weather Activity Planner 

Storm Prediction Center (severe outlooks)

Learn about the U.S. Skywarn Storm Spotter Program, which helps authorities get up-to-the-minute news about storms.

Skywarn Storm Spotter Program

Severe weather alerts can be found on local news websites, the National Weather Service in Albuquerque and by tuning in to AM1610.


Emergency Preparedness for kids

The Ready Wrigley mobile application was designed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to teach children about what to do in emergency situations. Critical information about emergencies is weaved into the mobile app using age-appropriate language and activities to teach children about preparedness and response. It is targeted for children, ages 2-8.

Emergency Preparedness for Children


Health Related Emergencies

Get answers to frequently asked questions concerning the pandemic and avian flu strains.

Pandemic and Avian Flu

Hantavirus, Plague, West Nile...be aware of how these are spread and how to avoid becoming infected by them.

Outdoor Health Concerns: Fight the Bite!

For information on smallpox and the smallpox vaccine, this site sponsored by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is an excellent resource


Bioterrorism and Nuclear Emergencies


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has a website dedicated to bioterrorism. In addition, there is a wide variety of information on biodefense, bioterrorism and numerous bio-hazardous substances sponsored by the National Library of Medicine.

Nuclear and Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) Emergencies

Nuclear explosions can cause significant damage and causalities from blast, heat and radiation but you can keep your family safe by knowing what to do and being prepared if it occurs. Visit the Department of Homeland Security site, or its sister site.

Road Conditions Information

New Mexico Road Advisories: 1-800-432-4269

New Mexico Current Road Conditions:


Emergencies across New Mexico

Information specific to New Mexico is posted on the NM Department of Homeland Security. Individuals can also visit the NM Bureau of Health Emergency Management or the New Mexico Department of Health, which has public health emergency response information and more.

FEMA Resources

Read and download much more preparedness information relating to all disasters at FEMA's Preparedness website.