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Feature of the Month

September is National Preparedness Month

Disasters Happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.

The National Household Survey conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) found that more than 75% of Americans surveyed have supplies set aside in their homes for disasters, but less than 50% have household emergency plans. Do you have one? If not, now is the time to get started! If you do, take the time to review and make updates.

Following the weekly schedule designed by FEMA for the month, here are tips and resources to help you, your family, workplace, and community be ready for what may come your way.

Week 1: September 1-8

Make and Practice Your Plan

1.  Discuss key questions with your family, friends, or co-workers.

enlightenedNote: You can register for CodeRED, the regional reverse 911 service for Santa Cruz County, to be informed and prepared in the event of an emergency. You will receive evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, missing person reports, and severe weather alerts.

2.  What is my family/household communication plan?
     Review specific needs, responsibilities, and resources. Here are some factors to think about:

  • Ages of members of your family
  • Dietary needs
  • Medical needs, including prescriptions and equipment
  • Disabilities
  • Language, cultural, and religious considerations
  • Remember the pets!

3.  Create and write out your plan

4.  Practice the plan together
     Practicing will enable you, your family, and co-workers to act and communicate quickly, access supplies, and evacuate if necessary in a real emergency.

Week 2: September 9-15      

Learn Life Saving Skills

Life-threatening emergencies can happen fast. Emergency responders may not be nearby, they may be overwhelmed, or may encounter transportation obstacles in a disaster.

Training is available locally through the American Red Cross and our Santa Cruz County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) (free). And you can explore online training such as You Are the Help Until Help Arrives.

Click here to watch a short video, Important Things to Know Before a Disaster.      

Week 3: September 16-22    

Check Your Insurance Coverage

Be sure you have adequate and appropriate coverage. Most homeowner and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes and floods. Check on your fire coverage as well.

Week 4: September 23-29    

Save and Prepare Financially for an Emergency

Gather critical financial, personal, household, and medical information.
enlightenedTip: Store information on a thumb drive and keep in a secure place, and have one in your Go Bag.

  • Save money in an emergency savings account that can be used in a crisis.
  • Keep a small amount of cash at home in a safe place. ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
  • Download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to get started today.

Be prepared--download the FEMA app for free on the App Store and Google Play. Learn what to do before, during and after emergencies with safety tips and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.

Wildfires: They Can Happen Here

Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa, Redding. Some of the most catastrophic fires in California’s history have occurred in the last two years, wreaking devastation so vast it is difficult to comprehend. In 2017, a total of 1,381,405 acres burned in the State. We were fortunate here in Santa Cruz. Only one major fire, known as the Bear Fire, started in October in a remote and relatively unpopulated area in the mountains 10 days after the fires that raged through Sonoma, Napa, Lake, and 6 other counties had started and been relentlessly spread by high winds. Here the winds had died down, and the fire was contained at 391 acres within 10 days.

Clear and Present Danger

We have an environment rich in fire fuel--trees, fallen limbs, dry vegetation and brush--along with geographical features that can enable wind-driven fire expansion. Add long-term drought and climate change—these all underscore the need for vigilance, protective measures, and planning. Santa Cruz, like most of California, is at great risk—and fire season can be all year round now.

“This is the ‘new normal,’” says Rosemary Anderson, Santa Cruz County’s Emergency Services Manager. “Take the time to make your plan and gather your things NOW. You are responsible for your own preparedness.”

What Can You Do?

Don’t start a wildfire! Use equipment safely!
enlightenedTip: Don’t drive a vehicle onto dry grass or brush. Hot exhaust pipes and mufflers can start fires. 

More Resources

Sign Up for The Great California ShakeOut!

Join family, friends, and colleagues on October 18, 2019 at 10:18 a.m. when individuals, as well as schools, colleges and universities, healthcare facilities, senior facilities, and other organizations in Santa Cruz County will practice the Drop, Cover, and Hold On method of self-protection during Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills.

Participating is a great way for you, your family, or organization to prepare to survive and recover from big earthquakes. Click here to be included in the 2018 Great California Shakeout! It only takes a minute.

  • Be counted
  • Be listed with other participants in our County (optional)
  • Help motivate others to participate and prepare
  • Have peace of mind that you, your family, and your co-workers will be better prepared to survive and recover quickly from our next big earthquake

Click on the infographic below to learn more about DROP! COVER! HOLD ON!


Get the whole family involved! Click the images below for resources and information.

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