Emergency preparedness

Preparing for an emergency begins long before one happens. Take steps to prepare now.

Develop a plan

Emergencies can come in many forms such as wildfires, storms, earthquakes or school or work emergencies. Being prepared for emergencies means having a written plan as well as supplies. With a written plan you have a systematic and repeatable approach to emergencies.

Your plan should be tailored to meet your specific situation, such as preparing for elderly and disabled family members as well as pets. Review and update it annually.

Consider these things when making a plan:

  1. Create an emergency plan for your family, identifying two places for the family to meet.

    • A place outside your home
    • A spot away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home
  2. Practice the plan with your family, including your children.

  3. Review the emergency plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center and other places where members of your family regularly spend time away from home.

  4. Plan safe routes away from your home and business to high, safe ground. Make sure your children are aware of the routes away from home.

  5. Develop a plan for family pets and livestock; evacuation shelters may not allow animals.

  6. Designate a friend outside the area who family members can call if separated.

  7. Keep current important documents in a safe-deposit box.

Prepare a kit of emergency supplies

During an emergency, you will need supplies. Here are some of the basics you should have on hand.

  • Three-day supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)

  • First aid kit and essential medicines

  • Three-day supply of packaged, dried and canned goods

  • Pet Food and pet carrier

  • Manual can opener

  • Portable radio and flashlights with spare batteries in waterproof bags

  • An extra set of car keys, cash and credit cards

  • Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members

  • Backup charging method for phones

Protect property - create a defensible space

Minimize your home's exposure to risk by modifying the vegetation space around it to resist a wildfire.

ZONE 1: From your home or structure out to a minimum of 30-50 ft. The area nearest your home should be well spaced and contain low-growing and fire-resistant plants such as turf grass, vegetable gardens, flower beds or ones recommended by your local nursery.

ZONE 2:  Extends 100 ft. away from your home or structure. Low-growing ground covers that support fire resilience and are low in fuel volume are recommended in this zone. Talk to a grower about which plants will work for your defensible space.

ZONE 3: Beyond 100 ft. of your home or structure. Check with environmental regulatory agencies before modifying native vegetation that might include endangered species and habitats.

If you live in California, the law requires 100 feet of defensible space around your property.

San Diego County requires 50 feet of clearance in Zone 1.

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