Emergency Services

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 OES Vehicles at Moffett Field

Welcome to the City of Palo Alto's Office of Emergency Services (OES). Our mission is to prevent, prepare for, mitigate, respond to, and recover from all hazards. We maintain an all-hazards and risk-based emergency management program that engages the whole community. Learn more in our OES executive summary.

Key Responsibilities: 

  • Threat and hazard identification and risk assessment
  • Develop and maintain emergency plans and policies
  • Maintain awareness of threats to our community
  • Promote resiliency and preparedness among the whole community
  • Be operationally ready to respond to local and regional threats
  • Administer the Emergency Services Volunteer program

The City of Palo Alto, its residents, businesses, schools, faith communities, and special populations face potential hazards from natural, intentional, and unintentional causes. Familiarize yourself with the threats and hazards facing Palo Alto.

The City of Palo Alto provides many ways to receive public warnings and emergency alerts. Sign up to receive alerts by email, text/SMS, or via social media for one of the options below. 

Sign up for AlertSCC, the Santa Clara County mass notification system.  It's a free and easy way to get emergency alerts sent directly to your cell phone or mobile device, landline, or email. Signing up for AlertSCC is one of the easiest steps you can take to prepare yourself and your family for an unexpected event and it takes only minutes.

Learn more about other ways you can stay connected and informed during an emergency.

  • Individuals & Families.  Learn how to prepare for the range of hazards that exist in Palo Alto.  We offer steps to know your hazards, make a plan, build a kit and stay informed. 

family with emergency supplies


  • Businesses. FEMA's Ready.Gov provides helpful resources to help you plan for and recover from emergencies that may impact your business.  

business park


palo alto high school


  • Faith Communities. Faith-based preparedness is important during emergencies so that staff and congregants know what to do.  Faith-based organizations can also play an important role in a disaster to help the community during and after the emergency.

religious images


  • Seniors.  If you are an older adult living in the community, you may face some challenges during an emergency. For example, you may have mobility problems, or chronic health conditions, or you may not have any family or friends nearby to support you. Support services that are usually available, such as help from caregivers or in-home health care and meal delivery services, may be unavailable for a period of time. In addition, older adults may experience challenges that come with advanced age, such as hearing or vision problems or cognitive impairment, which may make it difficult to access, understand, and respond to emergency instructions.

older aged couple using their computers


  • Access & Functional Needs.  Those with disabilities or special needs can be most at risk during emergency situations.  It is so important to plan ahead to ensure you have assistive devices, supplies, a transportation plan, and more when the situation calls for it.  Start your emergency planning now.

chart of accessibility symbols

ESV logo

Palo Alto's Emergency Services Volunteers (ESV): Learn more about Palo Alto's Emergency Services Volunteers.  The Office of Emergency Services sponsors the Palo Alto ESV program that consists of Palo Alto community members who make Palo Alto more resilient by forming neighborhood connections, promoting emergency preparedness, and providing supplementary resources to professional first responders during times of need.  

The ESV program includes:

  • Palo Alto Neighborhoods - Neighborhood and Block Preparedness Coordinators
  • Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members
  • Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) a.k.a. ham radio operators
  • Medical Reserve Unit (MRU)

The Emergency Operations Center is an emergency management structure comprised of interdepartmental city staff and volunteers that, when activated, can support, communicate, coordinate, prioritize, document, guide policy, plan, and manage information and resources.

mobile emergency operations center

 Ford F250 command vehicle

  • MEOC SUPPORT VEHICLE: (MSV)  Logistics support to Incident Command Post, disaster support, search and rescue.

  Ford F550 incident command support vehicle

 utility terrain vehicle