Our Mission

Photo: Carl Gooms

family emergency plan


The Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness (TCEP) is an all-volunteer, non-profit Public Benefit Corporation that provides emergency preparedness education and disaster status information to Topanga and other Santa Monica mountains communities.

Preparation and education

TCEP partners with other community organizations to help Topangans prepare for disasters. We offer tips on creating a family emergency evacuation plan, assembling emergency kits, and provide links to many outside emergency preparation resources. TCEP is a trusted resource for LA County agencies looking to understand the unique disaster-related issues in Topanga.

TCEP volunteers also conduct drills, help guide Neighborhood Networks across the canyon, speak at community meetings and post emergency prep-related information on Facebook and Twitter.

TCEP co-chairs the Topanga Emergency Management Task Force (TEMTF) with the Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management. The TEMTF is charged with implementing an emergency management plan for Topanga designed as a model for other LA County communities. It is comprised of Los Angeles County and state agencies including Fire, Sheriff, CHP, Public Works, Animal Control and the Board of Supervisor’s 3rd District Office, plus other Topanga coalition organizations.

The TEMTF publishes the Topanga Disaster Survival Guide, the “bible” of emergency preparedness for Topanga residents.

Disaster response and communications

When an emergency situation arises, such as a brush fire or mudslide, TCEP volunteers activate as a communications network.

We maintain 2-way communications with first responders and public agencies, including LA County Fire, Sheriff, CHP, Cal Trans, Southern California Edison, Public Works, and others, gather and verify information on the incident and then post public updates across multiple communications channels, including:


TCEP is primarily funded by donations from individuals. We’ve also received multiple grants from the LA County Third Supervisorial District and Southern California Edison.


Birth By Fire

As the ashes from the devastating 1993 Old Topanga and Malibu fires were still drifting in the air, a small group of Topanga residents, including Pat Mac Neil, Gabrielle Lamirand, and Fred Feer, among others, noticed a problem. Inaccurate information from news reporters who didn’t know the area had caused unnecessary confusion and stress among residents. No one was sure which neighborhoods were threatened or under evacuation orders. Many residents assumed their homes were toast based on TV news reports only to happily find their homes unscathed when they finally got back into the Canyon.

This group decided to create an organization that would leverage the collective know-how and wisdom of Topanga residents to provide accurate information before, during, and after a fire, flood, or earthquake. With initial funding from Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, TCEP was formed.

Decades of Continual Community Service

Under Mac Neil’s steady leadership, TCEP flourished, drawing in many talented volunteers. These dedicated people created our Emergency Operations Center—the backbone of TCEP’s communications capabilities—and established TCEP as the trusted source of disaster information within the community.

Unlike many volunteer organizations, which tend to fizzle out after a few years, TCEP is still providing accurate, verified, actionable information to Topanga and surrounding areas 25 years and counting after its founding around Pat Mac Neil’s kitchen table.