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Feature of the Month

Get Yourself Prepared!

As our hearts (and helping hands) go out to friends and family throughout the state and the nation, who have been ravaged by one disaster after another, we are reminded to prepare now for emergencies that might come our way here in Santa Cruz County. Fire, flood, earthquake, tsunami—we have had a sampling of each of these in some form or another in just the past few months!

What would you do if you had to evacuate? To help answer that question we are again sharing the Grab and Go feature from the AARP Bulletin. Even if you don’t have to evacuate, you may be dealing with situations that require sheltering in place and other disaster activities—see below for more information.


“Grab and Go,” by Jeff Rossen of NBC News and author of the new survival and fraud-fighting book Rossen to the Rescue.
Article reprinted from the October 2017 AARP Bulletin, Copyright 2017 AARP. All rights reserved.

Photo courtesy of Nick Ferrari. Illustration courtesy of Joel Holland

Be sure that everyone in your household has a go bag. Designing and putting them together can be a fun activity to share with your family. Also consider making go bags for your car and at work.

Take Additional Steps to Prepare for an Emergency!

Stay Informed

Think about multiple ways you can get information.

  • Radio
    • Generally is available when other sources are not
    • Radios can be battery-operated, or even hand-cranked  
    • Most people have car radios
  • TV and social media if you have electricity or a working Internet connection.
  • Emergency alerts
    • Landlines phones throughout the County are automatically registered for alerts.
    • Cell phones and Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phones (such as through your Internet provider) need to be registered to receive emergency notifications. Smart phone users can also download the Code Red app to stay informed during local emergencies. Visit for more information and to register.

Develop a Disaster Plan

  • For yourself, your family, your organization or company
    • Talk to children about crisis events
    • Don’t forget the pets
  • Practice your plan. Families can make a game night out of it. Or take cell phones away for a day and practice navigating your life without one for eight hours.

Make a Supply Kit

Get Involved and Connected

There are many ways to get involved. Here are a few:

Write Out Phone Numbers

How many phone numbers do you know? Nowadays many of us don’t have phone numbers memorized, even those of close friends and family members. Write out important contact information and put it in your wallet and go bag and make sure your children have their own copy.

Tip: Scan or Photograph Important Documents

Scan or photograph all your important documents and save them on a flash drive. Of course you want to be sure this information is stored safely and securely—your go bag is a good place (if only accessible to you and those you trust). Here are some items to include:

  • bank and credit account information
  • insurance accounts (health, life, auto, etc.), contact information, and policy numbers
  • property information
    • parcel and mortgage info
    • homeowners’ or renters’ insurance
    • photos of your home, contents, and equipment
  • credit card information 
  • passport
  • driver’s license
  • health directives
  • emergency contacts

And be sure to have a safe and secure way to access your passwords!

Be proactive. Do not wait to be told what to do. Prepare in advance and be ready to act.

Explore these and other resources:

                County of Santa Cruz Emergency Survival Guide


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

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