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Preparation is Power!

February 2019

Who expected to see snow in Santa Cruz?

Photo courtesy of Julianne Bonnet, Ben Lomond

Even in Santa Cruz County’s usually benign environment, the unexpected can happen. Our recent brush with winter weather has been relatively uneventful, but in this area the unexpected can show up as floods, high winds, wildfires, and earthquakes. The time to prepare for an emergency or disaster is before it strikes, not after!

There are a few essential steps to prepare yourself, your family, your workplace, or business. If you haven’t taken these steps yet, now is the time. If you already have your plans and supplies in place, be sure to schedule reviews and updates every year.

If you are told to evacuate, GO!
If you have reason to think you need to evacuate, GO!

Be sure you know and practice evacuation routes and methods for your location!


  • Practice the Plan!
    • Practicing will enable you, your family, and co-workers to act and communicate quickly, access supplies, and evacuate if necessary in a real emergency
    • Set up a regular time to practice--then talk about what went well and what needs to be improved, and make necessary updates
      (Example: A local family practices their emergency plan twice a year when the time changes.)
  • Make Go-Bags (Emergency Supply Kits)
  • Prepare Financially

Here are some tips from the Disaster Dodgers on how to plan, who to contact, and how to make emergency supply kits.

More resources for emergency planning:

Emergency Alerts and Warnings

CodeRED, the regional reverse 911 emergency notification service for Santa Cruz County, keeps residents informed and prepared in the event of an emergency. Examples of notices include evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, missing person reports, and severe weather alerts. Cell (mobile) phones and VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phones must be registered to receive alertsClick here to register.                                                                                             Note: Traditional landline telephones are already in the notification system.

Nixle is a free notification service that keeps you up-to-date about emergency weather events, road closings, public safety advisories, disasters, and other relevant information from public safety departments and schools. Click here to sign up for alerts from local agencies.                                                                  If you live or work in different counties, or if you have relatives or friends in other areas from which you want to receive information, you can sign up for alerts in other areas.

My Santa Cruz County
Download the app to report local issues such as potholes, abandoned vehicles, trash, dead deer, and environmental health complaints.
You can also register to vote, view or pay property tax bills, explore the county’s parks system, and conduct other business.

Be prepared--download the FEMA app for your mobile phone 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. Get safety reminders and customize your emergency checklist.

Click the images below for resources and information.

Resources in other languages

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