Be Prepared: Individuals and Families

Preparing for a disaster is an important part of keeping you and your family safe. During a major disaster, much of the key infrastructure will not be working. Planning and preparing for this may save your life. Palo Alto has over 65,000 residents, but only 40-50 first responders on duty at any given time. Learning and preparing to be self-sufficient for at least 14 days will help you make it through a large disaster.

Know Your Hazards

image of most probable hazards

From nature’s wrath to human error, hazards exist throughout the world. The City of Palo Alto is no exception. While we cannot prevent all hazards from occurring, we can be aware and prepare for them, minimizing their impacts on our lives. Learn more about the threats and hazards that impact residents of Palo Alto.

Build A Kit / Make a Plan / Stay Informed

Build a Kit

 first aid kit

During a large disaster, many local stores, utilities, and amenities won't be functioning normally or available at all.  Palo Alto Neighborhoods has assembled a list of emergency preparation supplies to sustain you and your family when needed.  

There are three places to store emergency supplies: 

  1. At your residence: Enough supplies for 14 days for your family and pets.  
  2. In your car: What if you are travelling, commuting, or on the road when an emergency occurs.  
  3. Under your bed: Keep a pair of shoes, a whistle, and a bottle of water under your bed in case you are in your bedroom or worse, you are trapped, when an earthquake happens.

Emergency Preparation Supply List For Your Home(PDF, 92KB)

Emergency Preparation Supply List Away From Home(PDF, 117KB)

Watch the City of Palo Alto Build a Kit Video

Make a Plan

list with checkboxes

 Make sure your plan includes these key elements:

  1. Identify an out-of-town contact, and make sure everyone has that phone number.
  2. Identify a place to reunite if you and family members are separated.
  3. If you have children, learn about school and day care center emergency release policies.
  4. Identify someone to pick up your children if you are unable to do so.
  5. Consider the needs of infants, seniors, and persons with disabilities.
  6. Provide each member of your family with an emergency evacuation plan including a home floor plan, home evacuation routes, and at least two exits out of each room.
  7. Include plans for your pets and large animals.
  8. Develop a family contact list to use if separated.
  9. Identify important documents to take with you such as insurance policies, medical records, drivers license, and mortgage information.
  10. Find the shutoff valves for gas, water, and electricity and teach responsible family members how to shut them off.
  11. Secure water heaters, major appliances, heavy furniture, hanging plants, mirrors, and picture frames to wall studs.
  12. Store breakables, heavy objects, and flammable or hazardous liquids in secured cabinets or low shelves.
    Conduct practice drills every six month

 Start with a blank family plan from the American Red Cross. 

 Download the Santa Clara County ReadySCC App.  Make and keep your emergency plan on your mobile device.  

Stay Informed


In the event of a widespread emergency, the community can stay up to date by phone, email, social media, AM / FM radio, and more.

Be notified, stay in touch, or contact us


Get Involved

Are you a Palo Alto resident who wants to be involved in your neighborhood?  Do you feel that you can help your neighbors?  Learn more about our Emergency Services Volunteer program.

palo alto emergency services volunteer graphic