Protect Your People
Making a plan is a no-cost way to protect your family when an emergency or disaster strikes. All it takes is sitting down with your loved ones and learning about the types of threats and hazards that may occur in your area and knowing what to do before, during, and after they occur. Emergency planning is knowing where the people you love are going to be, how you expect to get to them, and how you can be in contact with them.
Create a Contact List
Will you be able to reach the people you care about in an emergency or disaster? Do you have their contact information, such as phone numbers and email addresses, written on paper? Do you have a way to contact them at work or school?
Persons on your contact lists are critical information providers. In an emergency or disaster, regular communication channels may become impacted and may affect local phone services. Keep a paper contact list in your emergency supply kits and include an out-of-the-area contact person to help keep track of your family’s safety status in case you become separated and help provide updates on the emergency or disaster. Make sure your out-of-the-area contact knows about being part of your communication plan. Be sure to discuss your emergency communications plan with everyone on your contacts list and share a copy of your contact list with everyone who is on it.
Who to Rely On
Information you receive should come from a credible source. Make sure you are signed up to receive emergency alerts from the County of Santa Clara through AlertSCC. When conditions are changing fast, you need the latest information, which may come from the County, fire department, law enforcement, and emergency medical services, so you can make informed decisions and take action to save your life.
How to Evacuate
When you are required to evacuate, remaining calm will help you get your family to safety. Prepare by keeping a paper map in your Go Bag in case local internet and cell services become impacted or disrupted.
Mark multiple evacuation routes on your map in case you cannot use major roads or highways. Practice these routes using the transportation you would take in a disaster, involve the people you would leave with, and practice evacuating with pets. If you don’t have a car, check in with your local transit agency. Ask for the best ways to reach safety when many other people might be leaving at the same time.
Every minute you spend practicing now will reward you in a real emergency. When you are prepared, you’re better positioned to help those around you.
Choose Emergency Meeting Places
When mapping your evacuation plan, you’ll also need to choose emergency meeting places in case your family or group becomes separated. Plan where you will meet and how everyone will get there. Provide your meetup plan with everyone on your local contact list about where to meet up.
Choose familiar places. Pick a meeting place in your neighborhood, one outside of your neighborhood, and one outside of your town. Your meeting places could be the home of a relative or friend or a store, library, or park. If you have pets or service animals, consider animal-friendly places to meet.
Practice is key! Make sure everyone knows where your meeting places are, and practice getting to them.
If you cannot reach the home of a friend or family member, dial 2-1-1 and find a free public shelter. You can ask the operator which public shelters are best for people with disabilities and which shelters accept pets that are not service animals. Everyone is welcome at emergency shelters. Under California state law, all public shelters must be accessible, and no one running an evacuation shelter can ask you for identification.
However, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) or Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) will still request identification if you are in a public space, including outside of a shelter. They may also enter the private areas of a shelter if they have a warrant. They are less likely to search shelters located at a house of worship (church, mosque, temple), school, or community center.