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November 2017 Feature of the Month: Are You Ready?

Be Prepared! Words of wisdom for generations of Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts and a motto we can all put into action. October’s devastating fires in Northern California, along with the recent fire in the Santa Cruz Mountains, remind us to take some simple yet crucial steps now, before we might need to shelter in our homes, offices, or cars, help our neighbors, or evacuate quickly.

One important step is to make a Go Bag. If an emergency situation causes you to leave your home or work you will not have time to think and find the items you need, and they may not be available if you don’t prepare in advance!

“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

As mentioned in the article, 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. You may also consider having a go bag in your car and at work.

Further Steps You Can Take to Be Prepared for an Emergency

Think about multiple ways you can get information. Radio is good because it generally is available when other sources are not. You can have a radio that is battery-operated, or even hand-cranked and don’t forget your car radio. Other options are mass notification systems, TV and social media if you have electricity or a working Internet connection.

  • What disasters affect our area?
    • Most common are floods, storms, fire, and earthquake.
  • How do you get 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 in order 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 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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