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September 2019

Be Prepared, Not Scared!

Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. Here are some steps to take now.

Save and Prepare Financially for an Emergency

  • Gather critical financial, personal, household, and medical information and have it all handy and ready to take with you in an emergency.
    • Tip: Store information on a flash 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 some 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.
  • 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.

    NOTE: Many homeowners in California are finding that insurance companies are refusing to provide property and casualty insurance after recent devasting wildfires.

    Fire Safe Santa Cruz County hosted a presentation on Home Owners Insurance in High Risk Fire Areas, with valuable information on insurance in general as well as the non-renewal issues (starts around 35:00).

    ​Tips include:
    • Contact your insurer—are there any actions to take to mitigate risk and be renewed?
    • File complaint with California Department of Insurance if you think a non-renewal is unfair
    • Start search right away for new insurer while doing everything you can to mitigate risk
    • There may be other options, including Fair Plan
  • United Policyholders is a non-profit organization that provides numerous resources and services for consumers, including disaster recovery help, claim guidance, buying tips, and preparedness education, as well as advocacy and action and guidance for professional help. Click here to read “Dropped by your Insurer? Where to go for help in California.”

Here's a short video with some good tips: Three Steps to Prepare Your Finances for Natural Disasters

Make a Plan and Practice

Note: 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.

  • 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!
  • Create and write out your plan
  • 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.

Teach Your Children

Preparing for emergencies is a family affair. Young children and teens need to be part of the process, for their own safety and empowerment.

Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness

This program connects individual preparedness with preparedness in your neighborhood. Know who your neighbors are, who might need special assistance, and who might have special skills or equipment to help in a disaster.

For more information

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

Click here for free emergency preparedness publications, including an emergency supply list; information for parents and kids, pet owners, seniors, people with disabilities; and family communications planning.


Download the free FEMA app on the App Store and Google Play.

  • Learn safety tips for more than 20 types of disasters
  • Receive real-time weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations
  • Locate emergency shelters and disaster recovery centers in your area
  • Share alerts via text, email, and social media


And remember…

How Will You Get 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.

And now available as an app for your phone!
The CodeRED Mobile Alert app provides advanced, real-time, location-specific alerts to keep residents and visitors informed and safe as they travel across the United States and Canada. Messages can include text and audio and feature a map with the location of the warning area.

Click here to download the CodeRED Mobile Alert app for either iOS or Android.

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 in 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

Click Here to Access the Feature of the Month Archive