Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Preparedness Checklist

Office of Emergency Services

The Office of Emergency Services is situated in the Administration department and is responsible for interagency coordination and developing a sustainable, comprehensive approach for whole community protection. The organization, integration, and support of all departments and activities necessary to build, sustain, and improve upon the City's capabilities to mitigate against, prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, threats, and emergencies through leadership, collaboration, communication, and meaningful partnerships will promote community resilience.

Stay Informed

Sign Up for Notification and Warning Systems

Emergency Alert System (EAS) - No registration is required  

This is the National public warning system that will interrupt local broadcast tv and radio programming to provide an alert in the event of a large-scale emergency.

Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) - No registration is required

These are urgent alerts sent as text-like messages to your mobile phone based on your location (you will only receive notification if you are in the area of the emergency). WEAs have three alert categories -- Imminent Threat, AMBER, Presidential. You must keep the factory settings on to your WEA- capable phone to receive a WEA.

Refer to https://www.ready.gov/alerts or more information on EAS and WEA.

AlertSCC - Registration required

The City of Gilroy utilizes AlertSCC, the County’s official emergency and alert notification system, to send important advisories, alerts, and warnings directly to your cell phone, landline, or email. You do not have to be in the location of the emergency and can receive alerts for multiple addresses (i.e., work, child’s school, home). Registering for AlertSCC is one of the fastest, easiest, and most immediately productive things you can do to better prepare for an emergency. AlertSCC is specifically designed to help you safely manage your actions in an emergency.

Alerts can include:

  • Hazards (i.e., flooding, wildfires, severe weather)
  • Instructions during an emergency
  • Incidents affecting your neighborhood

Registering takes only minutes, the service is free, information is confidential and secure, and it can be deleted at any time.

Register and customize settings at AlertSCC.

Nixle - Registration required

The City of Gilroy also utilizes Nixle to share community-related public safety information. There are three types of Nixle notifications:  Alert, Advisory, and Community. These notifications may be sent via text or email and will be posted to the 95020 Nixle Alert page.

Register and customize your settings at Nixle or text your zip code to 888777.

Other ways to stay informed

City of Gilroy Website, the Email Express, Facebook, Instagram, and Nextdoor

For a full list of the City’s social media channels visit the City's Communication and Engagement web page.

Local Radio and Television Stations

In the event that the City is unable to use networked communications, Cable Channel 17 and AM radio 1610 will be used to share emergency information with our community. 

Make a Plan and Practice

Living in Gilroy, we are vulnerable to disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, and flooding. Once you understand the disasters that could happen in your area, the next step is to start preparing. Gather with the members of your household and talk through various scenarios.

Here are some key points to review:

  • Determine the safest escape routes from your home, workplace, and school including two ways out of each room.
  • Identify safe spots in each room where you could take cover, if needed, like under sturdy tables and desks.
  • Identify family meeting places and possible evacuation routes. Pick two locations – one in your neighborhood and another outside of your neighborhood. In the event your home is unsafe, your family can meet at the neighborhood location. In the event of an evacuation, meet at the location outside your neighborhood.
  • Determine where you will stay if displaced whether it is with friends, family, a hotel, or a public shelter.
  • Make an emergency contact list and include everyone’s phone numbers and additional contact information. Store all this information in your cell phone and make a few copies for your car, grab-and-go kit, and your house. Start a group text message group with all of these numbers so you can communicate quickly.
  • Document emergency information you might need including medical information and insurance for all family members.
  • Choose an out-of-state contact you can call after a disaster. Sometimes when phone lines are jammed it is easier to make an out-of-state call. All members of your household can check in with the out-of-state contact.
  • In a major disaster plan to be self-sufficient for not less than 72 hours.
  • Determine how you will stay informed.
  • If you are unable to place a phone call, try texting. Texting is more likely to succeed and leaves more phone lines open for 9-1-1 calls.
  • Keep your important documents in a safe place and take them with you if you are required to evacuate. Documents should be uploaded digitally to the cloud and hard copies should be stored in a fire-safe place like a safe or in a sealed plastic bag in the freezer.

Helping Children Prepare

If there are children in your household make sure you include them in the conversation and planning process. Have age-appropriate conversations about disasters that could affect your family and make sure kids know the family meeting locations. Plan in advance and notify your school or childcare who will pick up your children in case you are unable to get there. Also, ask your children’s school or daycare about their emergency and evacuation plans.

Make sure your children know these three things:

  • Their home address and family phone numbers
  • How and when to call 9-1-1
  • What to do if the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide alarm goes off

Helping those with Access and Functional Needs Prepare

If there are members of your household who may need additional assistance, make sure you have what you need to assist them with different types of disasters. Have a conversation with each person in your household to clearly understand their needs. For those with mobility impairments, plan several accessible routes to get to your planned meeting places. If you or anyone else depends on power for medical equipment, make sure to plan for power outages and have a backup battery power source. Consider storing backup equipment, such as a manual wheelchair, at a nearby accessible location. If anyone depends on daily medications, talk to their medical provider about obtaining an emergency supply of medicine.

Here are some individuals that may require additional support:

  • Older Adults
  • Non-Native English speakers
  • Pregnant women or parents with babies and/or small children
  • Homebound individuals
  • Post-surgery patients
  • People with physical or emotional disabilities
  • Individuals with no access to transportation
  • People with specific dietary needs

Some questions to consider as you think about supporting these members of your household:

  • Have they documented their medical history and any medications they are taking?
  • Is there anyone else who can help transport them if they are home alone when disaster hits?
  • Can others in your Support Network help you and them?
  • Can you help others in your Support Network?

Preparing for Pets and Service Animals

If you have a pet or service animal, make sure to include them in your plan. Aim to have a two-week supply of food and water. Have pet-related documentation, medications, and pet carrier ready to go. Keep a photo of you with your pet in case you are separated.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

Once your family has created a plan, you should practice each component of it. Also, make sure, everyone knows where your emergency kits and information are stored. It is recommended that you review and practice your plan annually.

Refer to Ready.gov for more information.

  1. Know Your Hazards
  2. Build an Emergency Supply Kit
  3. Community Preparedness
  4. Get Training

Know Your Hazards

Gilroy is prone to many natural and human-made threats and is vulnerable to earthquakes, wildfires, flooding. Because of Gilroy’s many threats, the importance of readiness as a City and for residents cannot be overstated. Part of disaster preparedness is knowing the kinds of hazards and disasters you might be subject to living and working in Gilroy. Use the MyHazards tool on the California Office of Emergency Services website to understand better the hazards that threaten our community.

Earthquakes

The Federal Emergency Management Agency places California in the “very high risk” category for earthquakes. In fact, California experiences the most frequent damaging earthquakes; however, Alaska experiences the greatest number of large earthquakes —most of which are located in uninhabited areas.  The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is the leading agency that provides the public and policymakers with a clear understanding of natural hazards and provides comprehensive real-time earthquake monitoring.

There are many fault systems running throughout the area that can lead to earthquakes of all types and sizes. Large earthquakes create an aftershock sequence that can produce additional earthquakes for many months. Earthquakes can occur in cold, hot, rainy, or dry weather; there is no such thing as “earthquake weather.” Gilroy experiences many earthquakes each year, though most are so small that they are never felt.

Follow these links for additional information:

ShakeOut

ShakeAlert

Wildfire

The geography, weather patterns, and number of Wildland Urban Interface communities in California make it a state particularly threatened by devastating wildfire. As catastrophic wildfires continue to increase each year in California, make sure to protect yourself and your family – plan, prepare and stay aware. Winds combined with dry vegetation, high temperatures, and low humidity make for dangerous fire conditions. The vegetation along Gilroy’s wildland-urban interface (WUI) can quickly burst into flames, rapidly spread, starting a deadly wildfire. When critical weather and fire conditions exist, the Gilroy Fire Department will issue a Red Flag Warning Alert. One of the best ways to keep these fires at a safe distance from your home is to make sure that nearby brush is cleared away from structures.

Visit Gilroy Fire for essential prevention and preparedness.

For an active California wildfire map, visit: https://www.fire.ca.gov/incidents or visit CAL Fire SCU Twitter for timely updates in our area at https://twitter.com/calfireSCU.

Severe Weather and Flooding

Gilroy has multiple watershed drainage canals and creeks. This can create problems when we receive substantial rainfall, reservoirs are at capacity, and the soil is saturated. Flooding can develop quickly or over a period of days with these conditions and can be especially dangerous for those caught by a rapidly moving water.

Follow these links for additional preparedness and safety information:

National Weather Service (NWS)

Santa Clara Valley Water District

Extreme Heat

While Gilroy typically enjoys the marine layer’s cooling effects, it can be incredibly hot, especially during summer with little cooling at night. Even indoors, temperatures can be just as uncomfortable without air conditioning or strong fans blowing cool air. For most of us, it’s unpleasant. For others, it can be deadly.

Visit Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management for more information on extreme heat, weather safety, and cooling centers throughout the county.

Extreme Cold

Extreme cold can immobilize an entire region. Even areas that typically experience mild winters can be hit with freezing temperatures. Weather of this nature can also cause hypothermia. Without proper heating, some homes within the City can become dangerously cold in the winter, especially for the ill and elderly. Extreme cold can cause the body’s temperature to lower dramatically, causing hypothermia and even death.

Visit Santa Clara County Office of Emergency Management for more information on extreme cold, weather safety, and cooling centers throughout the county.