- Natural Disasters / Rescues

 
Overview

Outside of fires, the most common types of natural disasters we are likely to face in our area would be a significant earthquake or major storm. Everyone living in the State of California should be prepared for an earthquake. This typically involves making sure that you have a minimum of three days of supplies for your family and your pet's. This would include an adequate amount of food, water, blankets, flashlights and a radio. Being adequately prepared for an earthquake also gives you the provisions to withstand the most significant storms that we see in Northern California.

When to call
For Earthquakes:
Do not use your telephone at all unless you have an emergency medical situation. In the event of an earthquake is not necessary to call just to report the earthquake or the damage that is local to you. (In fact one of the most significant issues facing all emergency responders in the event of an earthquake is a massive overloading of the phone lines).

For storms:
In the event of a major storm the typical reason that necessitates a call to 911 is a downed power line or a storm related injury that requires emergency medical attention.


What to do
For Earthquakes:
Check for fire or fire hazards. If you smell gas, shut off the main gas valve. If there's evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box. If the phone is working, only use it in case of emergency. Likewise, avoid driving if possible to keep the streets clear for emergency vehicles. Avoid post quake injuries; be aware that items may fall out of cupboards or closets when the door is opened, and also that chimneys can be weakened and fall with a touch. Check for cracks and damage to the roof and foundation of your home. Listen to the radio for important information and instructions. Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause damage in their own right, generally follow large quakes. If you leave home, leave a message telling friends and family your location.

For Storms:
In the event of the life-threatening situation or medical emergency you should quickly call 911. As with all calls to 911, you should try to use a landline if at all possible. When calling to report a downed power line or a medical emergency make sure to stay on the phone as long as required by the 911 operator. The 911 operator will ask you the appropriate questions to allow them to route the call in the most appropriate manner and to assign the most appropriate type of response equipment and personnel.

What we do
In the event of a storm related call, after receiving notification from the 911 dispatcher the FFPD will represent the first responder on the scene with an average response time of about five minutes. This type of call typically represents an emergency medical response. In these cases our EMTs will assess the situation and stabilize the injured party until an ambulance can arrive.

What NOT to do.
In the case of an earthquake please do not make a call unless you have a medical emergency or a significant threat to life (downed power line, etc.)

In the event of a storm related 911 call the most common mistake that people make is to hang-up on the 911 operator prematurely not allowing the operator to get all of their questions answered. (This is typically because at the moment of the call the caller is upset concerned or possibly in a panic.) It's very important that the 911 operator the able to collect all of the information they need in order to effectively route and dispatch the appropriate response. So stay on the telephone until help arrives or you're told that it's no longer necessary.


Special note: get CERT Training and be prepared!
You can be trained at how to handle an emergency by taking the CERT training that is available from the FFPD. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. The CERT training is offered free of charge and participants have no obligation or commitment to respond or act in the event of a disaster.

If you would like to more information about our natural disaster rescue services contact us online or by calling 510-583-4900.