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Emergency Preparedness




Emergency preparedness is crucial for safeguarding communities in times of crisis. It involves planning, training, and organizing resources to effectively respond to emergencies such as natural disasters, accidents, or public health crises. By being prepared, communities can minimize the impact of disasters, protect lives, and preserve property. Sierra Resource Conservation District (SRCD) recognizes the importance of emergency preparedness for local residents. Whether it’s wildfires, floods, or other emergencies, having a plan in place ensures a coordinated and timely response, increasing the likelihood of a swift recovery. Through education, training, and community engagement, the District aims to empower residents to take proactive measures and build resilience in the face of adversity. 

The resources on this page were organized and provided through a generous contribution from Pacific Gas, and Electric.

5 Steps to Get Ready

Getting ready is much simpler than you think. Here are 5 steps that you can take now to ensure you, your family, pets and other important people in your life are safe and cared for when disasters strike.

#1 Get Alerts

Get emergency alerts to help you stay safe during a disaster!

Emergency alerts are notifications sent to you by public safety officials during a crises.

Alerts provide timely information on what to do during a disaster so it’s important to know the types of alerts you may receive.

EVACUATION ORDER: An evacuation order is a lawful directive issued during an immediate threat to life, requiring individuals in the affected area to leave promptly for safety. This order indicates that the area is lawfully closed to public access, necessitating immediate evacuation to designated safe areas.

EVACUATION WARNING: An evacuation warning is issued when there’s a potential threat to life and property, signaling residents to prepare for evacuation if conditions deteriorate. Those needing extra time, along with pet and livestock owners, should evacuate promptly for their safety.

SHELTER IN PLACE: Go indoors. Shut and lock doors and windows. Prepare to stay inside until further notice and or contacted by emergency personnel for additional direction.

EVACUATION ORDER(S) LIFTED: The formal announcement of that it is safe to return to the area.

HARD CLOSURE: Closed to all traffic except fire and law enforcement.

SOFT CLOSURE: Closed to all traffic except fire, law enforcement and critical resources.

RESIDENT ONLY CLOSURE: Soft closure while allowing residents and local government agencies assisting with response and recovery to enter.

Notify Fresno County- Emergency Alert Program:

  • Get alerted about emergencies and other important community news
  • Receive critical information quickly in a variety of situations, such as severe weather, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA): 

  • Receive short emergency messages during times of imminent threats to life or property.
  • Alerts: severe weather, natural disasters, AMBER alerts, and presidential alerts.
  • WEA messages are sent automatically to WEA-capable devices, no sign-up required.

MobileAppsFEMA Appthe Red Cross Emergency Severe Weather App, and the MyShake App.

#2 Make a Plan

Having a solid emergency plan is crucial in times of crises. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area.

Consider the following while creating your plan:

  • Write down important phone numbers and contact information.
  • Choose a meeting place that is easy to find and familiar
  • Establish an out-of-area contact and share your plan with loved ones.

Be informed, make a plan, prioritize safety.

Shelter In Place: In some disasters, it may be safer to stay at home rather than evacuate. Here are some tips to prepare you to shelter in place.

Stay Informed: Stay tuned to local news and emergency alerts for updates on the situation. Follow instructions from local authorities and emergency management agencies.

Secure and Seal Your Home: Secure your home by closing and locking all windows and doors. Seal any gaps with duct tape or damp towels to keep air and contaminants out. Turn off HVAC systems and close fireplace dampers and vents to further prevent outside air from entering.

Create a Safe Room: Choose an interior room with the fewest windows and doors possible. This room should be above ground and large enough to accommodate everyone in your household. If possible, choose a room with access to water, such as a bathroom.

Prepare for Extended Stay with Emergency Supplies: Prepare a shelter-in-place kit with essential supplies such as non-perishable food, water, medications, first aid kit, flashlight, batteries, radio, and items for infants, elderly, or pets. Ensure you have enough supplies to last at least 72 hours in case of an extended stay.

Monitor Local Media: Use a battery-powered radio or smartphone to stay updated on the situation and follow any additional instructions from authorities.

Stay Calm: Remain calm and reassure others in your household. Avoid unnecessary movements and stay low to the ground if there is a threat of chemical or biological contaminants.

Evacuate: Many kinds of emergencies can cause you to have to evacuate. Planning is vital to making sure that you can evacuate quickly and safely no matter what the circumstances. Here are some tips to prepare you before, during and after evacuation. 

Before an Evacuation:

  • Learn about local evacuation plans.
  • Plan and practice evacuation routes and destinations with family.
  • Identify pet-friendly shelters.
  • Familiarize yourself with alternate routes and transportation options.
  • Keep at least a half tank of gas in your car it at all times in case of an unexpected need to evacuate.
  • If you don’t have a car, consider available resources.

During an Evacuation:

  • Use FEMA app for shelter information and listen to local authorities.
  • Take emergency GO BAG and evacuate early to avoid weather-related traps.
  • Bring pets and secure home before leaving.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes.
  • Be vigilant for road hazards and do not drive into flooded areas.

After an Evacuation:

  • Check with local officials before returning home, prepare for disruptions.
  • Inform friends and family of your travel plans.
  • Charge devices, consider backup batteries, and monitor fuel availability.
  • Bring supplies for the car ride, avoid downed power lines, and use generators safely.

#3 Pack a Go Bag

You may need to evacuate at a moments notice so it’s important to have an emergency GO BAG packed with basic essentials like:

  • Emergency contact list and disaster plan.
  • Copies of ID, insurance, deeds, titles, and photos of family members and pets.
  • Water
  • Non-perishable food
  • Medications
  • Flashlight
  • Portable radio
  • Map
  • Phone and charger
  • First aid supplies.

Remember, each member of your family should have their own bag, pets included!

As an older adult, you may have specific items you’ll need during a disaster. In addition to the basic essential items in your GO BAG, consider including the following:

Medical-Related Items:

  • A 3-day supply of medications, including those requiring refrigeration (with a cooler and ice packs if necessary).
  • Identification band with full name, contact number for family member/caregiver, and allergies.
  • Hearing aids and extra batteries.
  • Glasses
  • Medical supplies such as syringes or extra batteries.
  • Information about medical devices like wheelchairs, walkers, or oxygen, including model numbers and vendors.


  • Care plan.
  • Contact information for family members, doctors, pharmacies, and caregivers.
  • List of all medications with dosages, along with pharmacy and prescribing doctor information.
  • List of allergies to food or medicines.
  • Copies of medical insurance cards.
  • Durable power of attorney and/or medical power of attorney documents, if applicable.

Your pets are an important member of your family, so they need to be included in your family’s emergency preparation. Here are some items to include in an emergency kit for your pet(s):

  • Medications
  • Food in an airtight, waterproof container
  • Water and water bowl
  • Litter and litter box, trash bags, and other items for pet sanitation needs
  • Backup collar with ID tag and a harness or leash
  • Copies of your pet’s registration information in a waterproof container and available electronically
  • A picture of you and your pet together in case of separation
  • Crate or sturdy carrier for each pet
  • Grooming items
  • Familiar items like toys, treats, or bedding in your kit to reduce stress for your pets

#4 Assemble a Stay Box

In some disasters, it may be safer to stay at home rather than evacuate. A STAY BOX ensures you have essential supplies if you’re unable to leave your home.

Consider the following while preparing your STAY BOX:

  • Prepare for at least 5-7 days without running water or electricity.
  • Store items in an easy-to-carry container such as a plastic bin or a duffel bag.
  • Remember to include items for your pets.
  • Place your STAY BOX in an easily accessible location in your home.

Your Stay Box should include (but not limited to) the following items:

Water: One gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation.

Food: At least a several-day supply of non-perishable food.

First aid kit: To tend to any injuries or medical needs.

Flashlight: Essential for providing light during power outages.

Radio: To stay updated on the latest information and alerts.

Extra batteries: For powering essential devices such as flashlights and radios.

Manual can opener: For opening canned food if electricity is unavailable.

Cell phone and Charger: To stay connected and communicate with emergency services.

Whistle: To signal for help if needed.

Dust mask: To help filter contaminated air if necessary.

Plastic sheeting and duct tape: For creating a shelter in place if needed.

Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties: For personal sanitation.

Wrench or pliers: To turn off utilities if necessary.

Local maps: To navigate your area if needed.

#5 Help Neighbors

When a disaster strikes and people need help, neighbors turn to neighbors.

Get to know your neighbors! Introduce yourself now and start conversations about how you can help support one another in your disaster preparedness efforts.

A community that knows each other is more resilient during and after a disaster!

Meet your neighbors now and share information, prepare and organize together.

Determine who in your neighborhood might be available to help during the day, night and on weekends and establish communication.

Identify vulnerable neighbors who may need assistance (elderly, disabled, families)

Coordinate with first responders for a community response plan.

Share resources, skills, and information with neighbors.

Participate in local training sessions and drills for disaster preparedness.

Foster community solidarity for resilience in disasters.

Understanding the types of disasters that might affect your area is critical to emergency preparedness. Click through each icon below for tips on what what to do before, during, and after disasters.




Create and maintain the required 100 feet of Defensible Space.

Cut or mow annual grass down to maximum height of four inches.

Ensure all combustible materials are located 30 feet away from your home.

Red Flag warning means prepare NOW.


Don’t “wait and see” Leave when told!

Close all doors and windows.

Prepare pets for evacuation.

Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers.

Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.


Check with authorities before attempting to return to your home.

Check grounds for hot spots smoldering stumps and vegetation.

Check the roof and exterior areas for sparks and embers.

Continue to check for problem areas for several days.

Contact 911 if any danger is perceived.


Sierra RCD – Eastern Fresno County Firesafe & Fuels Reduction Program

Oak to Timberline FireSafe Council – Wildfire Safety

Highway 168 FireSafe Council – Wildfire mitigation information

Cal Fire – Department of Forestry and Fire Protection

NFPA Firewise

IBHS Wildfire research and insights



– Check well pumps periodically for leaks if you have one.

– Repair misting sprinklers and check systems regularly.

– Utilize drip irrigation for trees, shrubs, and flowers.

– Water manually in fall and winter if necessary.

– Consider rainwater harvesting where feasible.

– Contact your local water provider for guidance.


– Always observe state and local restrictions on water use during a drought.

– Take short showers instead of baths.

– Avoid flushing the toilet unnecessarily.

– Avoid letting the water run while brushing your teeth, washing your face, or shaving.

– Contact your state or local government for current information and suggestions.

RESOURCES – Drought mitigation efforts

California Department of Water Resources -Drought information



– Get plastic tarps, sandbags to keep out water.

– Keep car gas tank at least half full.

– Keep storm pipes and drains clear.

-Move valuable items to higher floors.

-Learn best escape routes to higher ground.


– Never drive into flooded areas.

-Watch for mudslides after wildfire.

– Don’t “wait and see”. Leave when told!

– Never walk through moving water.

– Watch for tsunami on coast after earthquake.


– Check with authorities for information and instructions. Return home ONLY when authorities say it is safe.

– Avoid driving except in emergencies.

– Do not touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you’re standing in water.

– Floodwater can be contaminated and contain dangerous debris.

-Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery ONLY outdoors and away from windows.


Fresno County- Flood Protection and Planning

Fresno County Office of Emergency Services (OES)

California Department of Water Resources – Be Flood Ready– Flood Preparedness



– Secure tall furniture to walls.

– Hang nothing heavy above a bed, sofa or chair.

-Practice earthquake safety drills.

– Learn how to turn off gas, electricity and water.

– Get free MyShake App for earthquake warnings.


Drop to the ground, cover your head with your arms, and hold onto your neck until shaking stops.

– Do not stand in a doorway.

– Stay away from large glass windows and mirrors.

– If you have difficulty getting onto or off the ground without assistance, cover your head with your arms as much as possible, and try to remain in place.


– Check your surroundings: Check for damage, and for anyone who is injured and in need of attention.
– Leave a trail: If you leave home, leave a sign telling friends and family your new location.
– Stay tuned: Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Aftershocks, which often follow large quakes, can cause damage too.


MyShake AppReceive timely, potentially life-saving early warning alerts.

Android Earthquake Alerts –  detection and early alerts, now on your Android phone

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) – Presidential, Imminent Threats (fire, earthquake, floods, etc.), and AMBER alerts.



– Ensure your home is properly heated and insulated before winter.

– Prepare emergency kit

– Stay indoors if possible and drink warm fluids, avoiding caffeine and alcohol.

– Dress warmly if going outside, covering exposed skin to prevent frostbite.

– Keep a snow shovel and ice-melting products handy.


– Use care with space heaters and fireplaces to prevent fires.

– Keep flammable objects  at least 3 feet (1 meter) from the heat!

– Avoid using candles, opt for battery-powered lights and flashlights instead.

-Prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires by never heating your home with a cooking oven or stove.


– Use ice-melting products to keep your walkways safe.

– If you need to go outside, use extreme caution when driving or walking on ice.

– Be aware of branches, trees, and ice that may fall.

– Go to a warming center if your home becomes too cold.

RESOURCES – Be Prepared For a Winter Storm

National Weather Service – Forcasting Office Hanford, CA

County of Fesno – Storm Readiness 

County of Fresno – Warming centers

Public Safety Power Shutoffs

What is a Public Safety Power Shutoff?

Severe weather, such as high winds, can cause trees or debris to damage equipment. If there is dry vegetation, this could lead to a wildfire.

That’s why PG&E may need to turn power off to keep you safe. This temporary outage is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS).

When does a PSPS occur?

When wildfire risk is high due to:

– Low humidity

– Forecasted high winds

– Dry material on the ground

– Vegetation near powerlines

– Red Flag Warning from the National Weather Service

This is most likely from September through November.

How will you be informed?

PG&E will do their best to alert you before a PSPS via email, phone call and/or text.

They’ll send you PSPS alerts as early as possible, both day and night, as needed.

If you are a PG&E account holder, you do not need to sign up to receive PSPS alerts.


PG&E-Public Safety Power Shutoffs

PG&E-General outage resources

Recent Recovery Efforts

Creek Fire 2020

The Creek Fire is credited as one of the largest wildfires in California history. It started September 4th 2020 and burned until November 2020 reaching over 370,000 acres across Eastern Fresno and Madera Counties.

SRCD’s Firesafe and Fuels Reduction Team worked through the Spring of 2020 to prevent wildfire by partnering with local landowners. There are some success stories of landowners who saved their homes partnering with SRCD and by following firesafety guidelines. See an April 2020 story here in the local Mountain Press:

Problem Solved!


Local Resources and Education

Wildfire Mitigation:

Pet Preparedness/Evacuations:

Heating and Cooling Centers:

County of Fresno – Extreme Heat Cooling Centers

County of Fresno – Warming Centers

Preparedness Support for Individuals with Disabilities and Access and Functional Needs:

General Education and Preparedness Resources: