The occurrence of a natural disaster is generally regarded as a chance event. The impact of a hurricane or similar weather-related event can only be predicted in advance by days or maybe weeks. In the event of a sudden disaster such as an earthquake, science has only seconds or minutes in which to issue a warning. The single certainty is that disasters will occur. With a rising population and seemingly more disasters, the importance of preparing to better respond is becoming evermore important to communities globally. Much can be done to use the patterns of the past to prepare for the future, but action is required. Community leaders must take a concerted and aggressive stance in advance of such disasters befalling the people they serve or be prepared to suffer the consequences of ignoring such threats. Communities are tasked with the safety and security of their residents and therefore must take the long view of preparedness. Emergency preparedness and disaster response is a complex and costly endeavor but it is one that must be undertaken by every community that chooses to manage risk rather than wait to be a victim of the inevitable. The City of Monterey Park is a small community on the eastern border of Los Angeles that has chosen to prepare itself for the certainty of coming disasters. The purpose of this narrative is to illustrate the state of readiness in the city and the steps taken thus far by the Emergency Preparedness Division of the Monterey Park Fire Department whose motto is "be prepared, not scared." This thesis will describe a number of the actions taken to develop a comprehensive emergency preparedness and disaster response program. The program consists of training of city personnel for disaster response, education of the public to enhance self-sufficiency, and the construction of a purpose-built emergency operations center. This Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was built in compliance with federal mandates as well as by developing a new budgetary line item to provide ongoing support for these projects to make a sustainable solution for the people and businesses of Monterey Park. The EOC was designed for the city with time and money challenges, so the solutions are applicable to many other cities and jurisdictions as a scalable template, not just a solution for one city. Much like a fire station, the EOC is a place for ongoing training, relationship building with responders to each other and the community and other regional responders, and also a place for preparing the needed communications, social media, and outreach efforts to make the facility a dynamic solution to the city's public-safety challenges. It also is a place that can be an example to others, much like the cleanliness and preparedness of fire stations. The efforts taken by the City of Monterey Park are ongoing and constantly evolving. This thesis is not intended to be a definitive treatise on emergency preparedness but rather a snapshot of one community's effort to meet the challenges of being prepared.