Taking Action Before, During and After
Being prepared ahead of time, as well as knowing what to do and what not to do, can help to contain the damage from many types of disasters. Individuals and organizations all have an important role in preparing, responding and recovering from a disaster.
- Private Citizens
Emergency Planning & Preparation
If the unexpected happens, having a plan and a stockpile of essential water, food and other supplies can make a difference.
- Get info on building an emergency supply kit for your family and get a template to create an emergency plan from the federal government site: Ready.gov.
- Get info on developing an emergency plan and an emergency supply kit for your business, school or church from Ready.gov.
Types of Disasters
Scroll below for tips on what to do in the event of an earthquake, fire, flood and/or storm, power outage, disease outbreak or terrorism attack. For tips on other types of disasters, go to Ready.gov.
During an earthquake, follow these tips and others from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- If you are inside, stay where you are and drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Do not run outside.
- If you are outside, move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires and then drop, cover and hold on.
- If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly and safely as possible, avoiding buildings, trees, overpasses and utility wires.
After an earthquake:
- Check for gas leaks; turn off if you hear gas escaping, smell gas or the meter dial is spinning abnormally fast.
- Don't flush toilets or drink tap water until you know the lines aren't damaged.
- Stay off the phone unless you have a life-threatening emergency.
- Listen to Cupertino Radio 1670 AM, KLIV 1590 AM, or KCBS 740 AM and 106.9 FM.
- Do not drop off donations unless the City requests them.
- Earthquake Safety Handbook from the U.S. Geological Service in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese.
- Reducing Risks at Home from the Association of Bay Area Governments.
- Reducing Risks at Work from the Association of Bay Area Governments.
- Seismic Hazard and Fault Maps from the Association of Bay Area Governments.
- Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety from the U.S. Geological Survey in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish and Vietnamese
The American Red Cross provides the following and other tips.
- Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside bedrooms and outside sleeping areas. Test the alarms every month, and change the batteries if they are no longer working.
- Talk with all family members about a fire escape plan and practice it twice a year.
- If a fire occurs in your home, get out, stay out and call for help. Never go back inside for anything.
- Santa Clara County Fire Department
- Winter Fire Safety Tips
Flood and/or Storm
The Santa Clara Valley Water District provides these tips and others.
- Have a family emergency plan and emergency kit of supplies.
- Know your flood risk, and tune into local radio or television stations for information on any flood alerts.
- Do not walk or drive through flooded roads. Six inches of moving water can knock down a person, and two feet of water can carry away most vehicles.
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- Flood Hazard Maps from the Association of Bay Area Governments
- National Weather Service
- Power Outage Tips
- Sandbag Wall Instructions | Sandbag Wall Diagram 1 | Sandbag Wall Diagram 2
- Santa Clara Valley Water District for dam and stream information
- Stevens Creek Dam Plan
During an outage follow these tips.
- Go to the PG&E electric outages page or the gas outages page for info.
- If there are downed power lines, treat them as if they are "live" or energized; keep yourself and others away from them; call 911 and then notify PG&E at 800.743.5002.
- Use battery-operated flashlights, not candles.
- If you have a generator, make sure it is properly installed by a licensed electrician; improperly installed generators pose a significant danger to PG&E crews.
- Unplug or turn off all electric appliances to avoid overloading circuits and causing fire hazards when power is restored. Simply leave on a single lamp to alert you when power returns, and then turn your appliances back on one at a time when conditions return to normal.
Follow these tips to prepare for an outage.
- Have battery-operated flashlights and radios with fresh batteries ready so you can listen for updates on storm conditions and power outages.
- If you have a telephone system that requires electricity to work (a cordless phone or answering machine), have a standard telephone handset, cell phone or pager ready as a backup.
- Freeze plastic containers filled with water to make blocks of ice that can be placed in your refrigerator or kept in your freezer to prevent foods from spoiling.
If an influenza virus strain or other communicable disease reaches pandemic proportions, the Santa Clara County Health Department may implement the following to stop more people from becoming ill.
- Isolation of people who are known to have the illness or disease, with care provided in hospitals, other healthcare facilities or in their own homes.
- Quarantine of people who may have been exposed to an illness or disease but are not yet sick.
Be prepared by checking and updating your home medical supplies once a year to make sure that you have the following on hand: a working thermometer; non-expired medicines that control fever, diarrhea, vomiting, cough and congestion; electrolyte replacement fluids; medical-grade masks and gloves; and disinfectants.
The FBI defines terrorism as "The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government or civilian population, in furtherance of political or social objectives." The FBI asks that people protect themselves online and in-person by:
- Remaining aware of your surroundings;
- Refraining from oversharing personal information; and
- Saying something if you see something.
Suspicious activity may include:
- Unusual liquids, odors, strange fogs, clouds.
- Unattended backpacks, suitcases or packages in public places.
- People with similar medical symptoms or signs of distress, as well as dead animals.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation
- Terrorism - A Preparedness Guide for Citizens from the Santa Clara County Fire Department.
Office of Emergency Services