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Specific Disasters



If you are indoors when the shaking starts:

  • "DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON" If you are near a strong table or desk, drop to the floor against an interior wall and cover your head and neck with your arms.
  • Avoid windows, hanging objects, mirrors, tall furniture, large appliances, and cabinets filled with heavy objects.
  • Do not try to run out of the structure during strong shaking.
  • If you are in bed, stay there and cover your head with a pillow.
  • Do not use elevators.
  • If you are in a wheelchair, lock the wheels and cover your head.

If you are outdoors when the shaking starts:

  • Move to a clear area if you can safely walk. Avoid power lines, buildings, and trees.
  • If you are driving, pull to the side of the road and stop. Avoid stopping under overhead hazards.
  • If you are on the beach, move to higher ground. Near the coast an earthquake can cause a tsunami; near a body of landlocked water an earthquake can cause a seiche.

Once the earthquake shaking stops:

  • Check the people around you for injuries; provide first aid. Do not move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger.
  • Check around you for dangerous conditions, such as fires, downed power lines, and structure damage.
  • If you have fire extinguishers and are trained to use them, put out small fires immediately.
  • Turn off the gas only if you smell gas.
  • Check your phones to be sure they have not shaken off the hook and are tying up a line.
  • Inspect your home for damage.

If you are trapped in debris:

  • Move as little as possible so that you don't kick up dust. Cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or clothing.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall so that rescuers can hear where you are. Use a whistle if one is available. Shout only as a last resort.

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If your smoke detector goes off or you see fire:

  • Remain calm and get out.
  • If you see smoke under the door, find another way out.
  • Feel the door with the back of your hand before you open it. If its hot, find another way out.
  • Drop to the floor to avoid smoke and fumes. Crawl to safety.
  • If your clothes catch on fire, STOP where you are, DROP to the ground, and ROLL over and over to smother the flames.
  • Call 9-1-1 from a safe location.

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Wildfires often begin unnoticed. They spread quickly, igniting brush, trees, and homes. Reduce your risk by preparing now before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. Follow the steps listed below to protect your family, home, and property.

Practice Wildfire Safety

  • People start most wildfires...find out how you can promote and practice wildfire safety.
  • Contact your local fire department, health department, or forestry office for information on fire laws. Make sure that fire vehicles can get to your home.
  • Clearly mark all driveway entrances and display your name and address.
  • Report hazardous conditions that could cause a wildfire.
  • Teach children about fire safety. Keep matches out of their reach.
  • Post fire emergency telephone numbers.
  • Plan several escape routes away from your home by car and by foot.
  • Talk to your neighbors about wildfire safety. Plan how the neighborhood could work together after a wildfire. Make a list of your neighbors' skills, such as medical or technical. Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as elderly or disabled persons. Make plans to take care of children who may be on their own if parents can't get home.
  • Make sure to consider your pets in all your evacuation and preparedness plans.


Protect Your Home


  • Clear all dead and dry brush around your home within a 30 foot radius.
  • Regularly clean roof and gutters.
  • Inspect chimneys at least twice a year. Clean them at least once a year. Keep the dampers in good working order. Equip chimneys and stovepipes with a spark arrester that meets the requirements of National Fire Protection Association Code 211. (Contact your local fire department for exact specifications.)
  • Use 1/2-inch mesh screen beneath porches, decks, floor areas, and the home itself. Also, screen openings to floors, roof, and attic.
  • Install a smoke detector on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms; test monthly and change the batteries twice a year at day light savings time.
  • Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type) and show them where it's kept.
  • Keep a ladder that will reach the roof.
  • Consider installing protective shutters or heavy fire-resistant drapes.
  • Keep handy household items that can be used as fire tools: a rake, axe, handsaw or chainsaw, bucket, and shovel.

Before Wildfire Threatens

  • Design and landscape your home with wildfire safety in mind.
  • Select materials and plants that can help contain fire rather than fuel it.
  • Use fire resistant or non-combustible materials on the roof and exterior structure of the dwelling. Or treat wood or combustible material used in roofs, siding, decking, or trim with UL-approved fire-retardant chemicals.
  • Plant fire-resistant shrubs and trees. For example, hardwood trees are less flammable than pine, evergreen, eucalyptus or fir trees.

Create a 30- to 100-Foot Safety Zone around Your Home

  • Within this area, you can take steps to reduce potential exposure to flames and radiant heat. Homes built in pine forests should have a minimum safety zone of 100 feet. If your home sits on a steep slope, standard protective measures may not suffice. Contact your local fire department.
  • Rake leaves, dead limbs, and twigs. Clear all flammable vegetation.
  • Remove leaves and rubbish from under structures and dispose of them properly.
  • Thin a 15-foot space between tree crowns, and remove limbs within 15 feet of the ground.
  • Remove dead branches that extend over the roof.
  • Prune tree branches and shrubs within 15 feet of a stovepipe or chimney outlet.
  • Ask the power company to clear branches from power lines.
  • Remove vines from the walls of the home.
  • Mow grass regularly.
  • Clear a 10-foot area around propane tanks and the barbecue. Place a screen over the grill--use non-flammable material with mesh no coarser than one-quarter inch.
  • Regularly dispose of newspapers and rubbish at an approved site.
  • Place stove, fireplace, and grill ashes in a metal bucket, soak in water for two days, then bury the cold ashes in mineral soil.
  • Store gasoline, oily rags, and other flammable materials in approved safety cans. Place cans in a safe location away from the base of buildings.
  • Stack firewood at least 100 feet away and uphill from your home. Clear combustible material within 20 feet. Use only UL-approved wood-burning devices.

Plan Your Water Needs

  • Identify and maintain an adequate outside water source such as a small pond, cistern, well, swimming pool, or hydrant.
  • Have a garden hose that is long enough to reach any area of the home and other structures on the property.
  • Install freeze-proof exterior water outlets on at least two sides of the home and near other structures on the property. Install additional outlets at least 50 feet from the home.
  • Consider obtaining a portable gasoline-powered pump in case electrical power is cut off.

When Wildfire Threatens

  • If you are warned that a wildfire is threatening your area, listen to your battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information. Follow the instructions of local officials.
  • Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape. Shut doors and roll up windows. Leave the key in the ignition. Close garage windows and doors, but leave them unlocked. Disconnect automatic garage door openers.
  • Confine pets to one room so you know where they are located should you need to evacuate. Make evacuation plans that include your pets.
  • Arrange temporary housing at a friend or relative's home outside the threatened area.

If Advised to Evacuate, Do So Immediately

  • Wear protective clothing--sturdy shoes, cotton or woolen clothing, long pants, a long-sleeved shirt, gloves, and a handkerchief to protect your face.
  • Take your [inline:emergencypreparednesskits.pdf=Emergency Preparedness Kits].
  • Lock your home.
  • Tell someone when you left and where you are going.
  • Choose a route away from fire hazards. Watch for changes in the speed and direction of fire and smoke.
  • Familiarize yourself with the City's Wildland Pre-Fire Attack Plan which will provide which routes are designated for Residential Evacuation Vehicles and which Routes are designated for Emergency Vehicles.

If You're sure You Have Time, Take Steps to Protect Your Home


  1. Close windows, vents, doors, venetian blinds or non-combustible window coverings, and heavy drapes. Remove lightweight curtains
  2. Shut off gas at the meter. Turn off pilot lights.
  3. Open fireplace damper. Close fireplace screens.
  4. Move flammable furniture into the center of the home away from windows and sliding-glass doors.
  5. Turn on a light in each room to increase the visibility of your home in heavy smoke.


  1. Seal attic and ground vents with pre-cut plywood or commercial seals.
  2. Turn off propane tanks.
  3. Place combustible patio furniture inside.
  4. Connect the garden hose to outside taps.
  5. Set up the portable gasoline-powered pump.
  6. Place lawn sprinklers on the roof and near above-ground fuel tanks. Wet the roof.
  7. Wet or remove shrubs within 15 feet of the home.
  8. Gather fire tools.

Emergency Supplies

When wildfire threatens, you won't have time to shop or search for supplies. Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need if advised to evacuate. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, dufflebags, or trash containers.


  • A three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
  • One change of clothing and footwear per person and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
  • A first aid kit that includes your family's prescription medications.
  • Emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
  • An extra set of car keys and a credit card, cash, or traveler's checks.
  • Sanitation supplies.
  • Special items for infant, elderly or disabled family members.
  • An extra pair of eyeglasses.
  • Keep important family documents in a waterproof container. Assemble a smaller version of your kit to keep in the trunk of your car. 

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Winter rains can cause floods, landslides, uprooted trees, and downed or broken utility lines in almost any neighborhood. For information on free sandbags to protect your property, call City Hall at (415) 508-2130. The Department of Public Works provides free sand bags to City Residents. There is a limit of 15 sandbags; requests for additional sandbags will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

During the Storm  
  • If water has entered a garage or basement, do not walk through it - it may contain hazardous materials.
  • Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If your car stalls, abandon it immediately. Attempting to move a stalled vehicle in flood conditions can be fatal.
  • Tune to KCBS 740 AM or local TV channels for emergency advisories and instructions.
  • If you are asked to leave your property, disconnect all electrical appliances.   

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Power outages can occur due to rolling blackouts, extreme weather conditions, or can accompany other disasters like earthquakes. If there is no power in your neighborhood:

  • Turn off and unplug appliances and computers. Leave one light on to indicate when power has been restored.
  • Avoid using candles, as they are a fire hazard.
  • Do not use a gas stove for heating or operate generators indoors (including the garage). Both could cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • After a power outage, refrigerated food will stay cold longer if you keep the door closed. Food should generally be consumed within 4 hours. Food in the freezer will normally remain safe for 2 days. Click here for more information on food safety.  
  • Contact PGE: (800) 743-5000 or www.pge.com

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Infectious Disease: a disease caused by a microorganism and therefore potentially infinitely transferable to new individuals. May or may not be communicable. Example of non communicable is disease caused by toxins from food poisoning or infection caused by toxins in the environment.

Communicable Disease: an infectious disease that is contagious and which can be transmitted from one source to another by infectious bacteria or viral organisms.

Contagious Disease: a very communicable disease capable of spreading rapidly from one person to another by contact or close proximity.

Infection Prevention for Everyone

In a community, infection control included maintaining healthy habits that keep disease from spreading between family and community members.

Staying Healthy and Preventing the Spread of Disease

Hand Washing

  • One of the most important ways to prevent an infection is to wash your hands after touching another person, or an item or surface that may have been contaminated or soiled.

When to Wash your Hands

  • After using the bathroom or changing diapers.
  • Before and after eating.
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Before and after preparing food (especially raw meat).
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
  • After touching another person's hands or touching an animal or pet.
  • After handling the garbage.

How to Wash your Hands with Soap and Water

  • Always use warm water and soap. Premoistened cleansing towelettes do not effectively clean hands.
  • Wet hands and apply soap.
  • Rub hands until a soapy lather appears for at least 15-20 seconds. Be sure to scrub between fingers, under fingernails, around joints, and the tops and palms of hands.
  • Rinse hands.
  • When helping a child, run their hands first and then wash your own.

 How to Wash your Hands with Hand Sanitizer

  • Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Use alcohol-based gel that has at least 60% alcohol content to be effective.
  • Use hand sanitizer when your hands are not visibly dirty (if hands are dirty wipe off dirt first).
  • Apply enough hand sanitizer for both hands to the palm.
  • Rub hands between fingers, under fingernails, around joints, and the tops and palms of hands until dry. If your hands dry before 10 seconds you did not use enough.

 Cover your Cough

  • To help stop spread of germs cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze; then put your used tissue in the trash. If you don't have a tissue cough or sneeze into your upper arm. Wash your hands with soap and water or use hand sanitizer.


  • Make sure your vaccines are up to date and ensure that if you have children, their vaccines are up to date. These include vaccines such as Hepatitis A and B, annual flu shots, and childhood immunizations.

Food Preparation 

  • Prepare food in a safe manner and cook and store it at proper temperatures. Never eat food that has been left out for an extended period of time (over four hours) or is spoiled.

Healthy Lifestyle 

  • Try to eat a well-balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, drink lots of water, and get plenty of sleep and regular exercise. Leading a healthy lifestyle helps boost your immune system so that it can prevent infections.  

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When community evacuations become necessary, local officials provide information to the public through the media. In some circumstances, other warning methods, such as sirens or telephone calls, also are used. The amount of time you have to leave will depend on the hazard. If the event is a weather condition, such as a hurricane that can be monitored, you might have a day or two to get ready. However, many disasters allow no time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, which is why planning ahead is essential.

Evacuations are more common that many people realize. Hundreds of times each year, transportation and industrial accidents release harmful substances, forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. Fires and floods cause evacuations even more frequently.

Evacuation Guidelines



If time permits:

Keep a full tank of gas in your car if an evacuation seems likely. Gas stations may be closed during emergencies and unable to pump gas during power outages. Plan to take one car per family to reduce congestion and delay. Keep a disaster kit in your car just in case time does not allow for you to grab one.

Gather your disaster supplies kit.

Make transportation arrangements with others if you do not own a car.

Wear sturdy shoes and clothing
that provides some protection,
such as long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and a cap.

Listen to a battery-powered radio and follow local evacuation instructions.

Secure your home:

Close and lock doors and windows.

Unplug electrical equipment, such as radios and televisions, and small appliances, such as toasters and microwaves. Leave freezers and refrigerators plugged in unless there is a risk of flooding.

Gather your family and go if you are instructed to evacuate immediately.

Let others know where you are going.

Leave early enough to avoid being trapped by severe weather.


Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.


Be alert for washed-out roads and bridges. Do not drive into flooded areas.


Stay away from downed power lines.



Prepare a Personal Evacuation Plan 

  • Identify ahead of time where you could go if you are told to evacuate. Choose several places - a friend's home in another town, a motel, or a shelter.
  • Keep handy the telephone numbers of these places as well as a road map of your locality. You may need to take alternative or unfamiliar routes if major roads are closed or clogged.
  • Listen to KCBS 740 AM Radio or local TV stations for evacuation instructions. If advised to evacuate, do so immediately.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home and from each room. Also, determine the two best escape routes from your neighborhood/community.
  • Designate a neighbor or local friend's house as a safe place for your children to meet if you are away from home.
  • Ask an out of town friend to be your family's disaster contact. After a disaster, all family members should call this person and tell them where they are.
  • Remember, your evacuation plan should always include your pets.     

Assemble a Household Disaster Supplies Kit Including the Following Items: 

  • First aid supplies, medications, and hygiene items such as soap, toothpaste, and toilet paper.
  • Drinking Water (minimum one gallon or four liters per person per day)
  • Emergency Lighting - light sticks and/or working battery operated flashlight with extra batteries and light bulbs.
  • Hand cranked or battery operated radio.
  • Canned food and can opener.
  • Protective clothing, rainwear, and bedding or sleeping bags.
  • Heavy duty plastic bags.
  • Work gloves and goggles.
  • Pet food and pet restraints. (Please see pet section for detailed list.)
  • Copies of important documents listed below.
  • Emergency cash in small bills.
  • Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members.
  • Car keys and maps.
  • Written instructions on how to turn off electricity, gas, and water if authorities advise you to do so. (Remember, you may need a professional to turn them back on.)

Remember to replace perishable items like water, food, medications, and batteries every 3-6 months.

Keep extra copies of the following documents in a safe location, such as a safe or safety deposit box:

  • Drivers License
  • Social Security Card
  • Proof of Residence
  • Insurance policies
  • Wills
  • Deeds
  • Birth and Marriage/Divorce Papers
  • Child Custody Papers
  • Power of Attorney
  • Tax Records
  • Bank Statements
  • Mortgage Agreement
  • Credit Card Numbers
  • Inventory of your possessions
  • Ownership records of Cars
  • Passports 

Choosing a Place to Meet:

At the time of an emergency, your family may not be together. It is important to choose family meeting places.

Remember that bridges may be out and roads may be blocked by debris, so choose your meeting places carefully with access in mind.

Pick places that are easy to identify, that can be reached on foot if necessary, and that are in an accessible, open area.

Take into account where each of you will likely be at different times and on different days.

The evacuation plan for your neighborhood can be handy in a large disaster. By plotting out potential routes on a city map before a disaster, you will save yourself from having to figure something out while in a hurry.

Things to think about when crafting your neighborhood evacuation plan include:

  • You should plan two (2) routes for each direction (North, South, East, West)
  • You should avoid routes with obvious hazards, or routes that are likely to be impassible in a disaster. (You probably will want to drive the routes before deciding.) And avoid routes that may be congested during an emergency.

Establish plans with other family members for meeting up outside of the evacuated area. Make sure each member knows the location of the established meeting points.

You should have a phone list of 3 contacts, outside your area. Each family member should carry a personal copy of this list. In an emergency, communications may be down in your area. Family members can contact the persons out of the emergency area to pass along messages and to check on the welfare of other family members.

Be sure that each family member has a copy of the evacuation plans, maps and telephone numbers.

You should also allow for an evacuation scenario, while at work.

Keep your evacuation plan in a safe location with your 72 hour kit.

Familiarize yourself with the City's Wildland Pre-Fire Attack Plan which will provide which routes are designated for Residential Evacuation Vehicles and which Routes are designated for Emergency Vehicles.

Participate in Brisbane's yearly Wildland Evacuation Drill to familiarize yourself with the City's planned response to evacuate residents. Participation will allow you to put your personal evacuation plan into action.  


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