Emergencies and disasters can happen at any time. They often strike quickly and without warning, and could force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. It may take time before emergency responders are able to get to you, so it’s important to prepare.
- STEP 1: Be Informed
It is important to know how first responders, emergency professionals and other officials will communicate with you and your community before, during, and after an emergency or disaster. Take time to learn about sources of official emergency information that are available to you.
Sign up for Alerts
Get these types of emergency alerts sent directly to your cell phone or mobile device, landline, or by email
- Flooding, wildfires, and subsequent evacuations
- Severe weather alerts
- Earthquake early warning
- Power shutoffs and outages
- Public safety incidents that affect your neighborhood
- Post-disaster information about shelters, transportation, or supplies
MendoAlert (through the Everbridge mass notification and emergency alert system) is the primary means of notification used by Mendocino County. This system allows registered users to receive emergency alerts and notifications regarding hazardous conditions via text message, phone calls, and email based on locations you care about.
Users can register multiple communication methods (home phone, cell phone, email, etc.) and addresses to better ensure vital messages are delivered successfully. Alerts and notifications are sent to a specific geographic area and only registered users in that area are notified.
REGISTER TODAY to get timely emergency notifications and alerts that may save your life or those you care about!
- Create a user profile with password.
You must register with a personal email and establish a private password to manage your account over time.
- Provide contact information.
You will be asked to provide contact information (phone, email, cell phone number, etc.)
- Indicate the address(es) where you would like to be contacted.
Register with your home address and then add an additional address (work, family members address, children’s school, etc.) if you wish to receive notifications about emergencies in multiple areas.
- Indicate if you or someone in your household has any access or functional needs.
This could include hard of hearing, mobility challenges, blind, non-English speaker, etc.). This information is completely voluntary but will assist OES in emergency response efforts.
Nixle is a community information service dedicated to helping you stay connected to the information that matters most to you, depending on your physical location. Nixle is a secondary notification tool that is integrated with MendoAlert. Generally, Nixle only sends notifications via text message to cell phones; however, residents who register online may also receive email notifications as well.
Residents can REGISTER TODAY for all Nixle notifications or by texting their zip code to 888777.
We highly recommend that everyone registers for both Nixle and MendoAlert.
Earthquake Early Warning
Earthquake Warning for California and the MyShake app for your smartphone use ShakeAlert information that is issued by the US Geological Survey’s ShakeAlert System when weak to severe shaking is expected at your location. These alerts are not earthquake predictions; rather, they indicate that an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent. Although the system can provide seconds of warning, regions near the epicenter may not receive a warning before shaking arrives. Remember to drop, cover, and hold on when you get an alert or feel shaking. You may have to take alternative protective actions, depending on your situation or environment.
Power Shutoff Alerts
When possible, Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) will provide customers with advance notice about events affecting your service—including the possible need to proactively turn off power for public safety. Make sure your email, phone number, language preference, and mailing address are current in your online PG&E account, or sign up here to get a phone call from PG&E if power shutoffs may be needed to help prevent a wildfire.
Customers serviced by the City of Ukiah Electrical Utility Department can contact a 24-hour hotline at (707) 463-6288. Online information can be found here.
Other Alerts and Warnings
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA)
Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs) are short emergency messages from authorized federal, state, local, tribal and territorial public alerting authorities that can be broadcast from cell towers to any WEA‐enabled mobile device in a locally targeted area. No registration is required for WEA messaging. To activate this alert, make sure your cell phone settings are set up to accept emergency and public safety alerts. More information about WEA can be found here.
Emergency Alert System (EAS)
Emergency Alert Systems (EAS) sends messaging to local radio and television stations who may broadcast the information. An EAS message is typically accompanied by a special warning tone. Click to learn more.
This distinctive two-town siren acts as a warning notice by law enforcement to alert you of danger. This sound indicates an evacuation order has been issued and people should leave the area.
NOAA Weather Radio
Get a NOAA Weather Radio and leave it on at all times. When activated by an event, these radios generate an alarm, voice alert, and flasher. Mendocino County residents should tune their NOAA radio to these frequencies:
The following radio stations will provide critical information to Mendocino County residents and visitors during an emergency:
- KOZT (95.3 and 95.7 FM)
- KZYX (90.7 FM)
- KMFB (92.7 FM)
Follow us on Social Media
The Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office uses social media platforms to assist in disseminating information to the public. We use these platforms to share all kinds of information from non-emergency to emergency. We do not rely on these platforms alone to convey urgent emergency alert and warning messages.
- STEP 2: Prepare Your Home
During a disaster, ordinary objects in your home can cause injury or damage. However, there are simple steps you can take to make your home safer. Consider the different hazards in your area—such as earthquakes, fires, and floods—and view your property with a “disaster eye” to identify potential hazards.
Five Basic Steps to Home Preparedness
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home and change batteries every 6 months. Keep ABC-type fire extinguishers on each level and know how and when to use them.
- Understand where, when, and how to turn off electric, natural gas, water, and other utilities.
- Create a barrier, or “defensible space,” between buildings and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it.
- Move and/or secure heavy objects (e.g., bookshelves and water heaters) and mirrors, pictures, and wall hangings near where people sit or sleep.
- Document and insure your property. Understand your insurance coverage options and ensure you have appropriate insurance for relevant hazards. Inventory important documents and valuables, in writing and/or with photographs/video.
Reducing In-Home Earthquake Hazards
The items on this list progress from the Easiest/Lowest Cost to Hardest/Higher Cost.
- Move heavy or large items to the floor or low shelves and away from doors and escape routes.
- Move mirrors and heavy pictures away from couches or places where people sit.
- Move beds away from windows and remove objects from above beds.
- Clear stairwells, hallways, and exits for easy evacuation.
- Move chemicals, flammable liquids, and painting products to lower storage areas and away from living areas.
- Place stoppers against refrigerator wheels.
- Install latches on cabinets and cupboards.
- Secure pictures, mirrors, and wall hangings.
- Use restraints to secure heavy items such as bookcases and file cabinets.
- Secure breakable items using museum putty or Velcro.
- Secure water heater tank to a wall.
- Secure ceiling fans and hanging lights with closed links.
- Use flexible connections where gas lines meet appliances, such as water heaters and ovens.
- Secure free-standing wood stoves or fireplace inserts.
- Brace or replace masonry (brick) chimneys.
- Upgrade unbraced crawl space walls and other foundation features.
Reduce In-Home Wildfire Hazards With Defensible Space
(within 30 feet of your home or any structures, decks, etc.)
- Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation).
- Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof, and rain gutters.
- Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney.
- Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees.
- Relocate wood piles to Zone 2.
- Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows.
- Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks.
- Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.
(within 100 feet of your home or any structures, decks, etc.)
- Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches.
- Create horizontal space between shrubs and trees.
- Create vertical space between grass, shrubs and trees.
- Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.
Reduce In-Home Flood Hazards
The items on this list progress from the Easiest/Lowest Cost to Hardest/Higher Cost.
- Make copies of critical documents (birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.) and place in a water-tight container.
- Identify critical items to move to a higher location in your house when a flood watch occurs.
- Seal walls in basements with waterproofing compounds to avoid seepage through cracks.
- Elevate your washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace, and electrical wiring on concrete blocks.
- Protect washer, dryer, water heater, oil tank, furnace, and electrical wiring with a floodwall or shield.
- Move your furnace, water heater, and electric panel to floors that are less likely to be flooded.
- Construct barriers such as levees, berms, and floodwalls to stop floodwater from entering the building.
- Install backflow valves in plumbing to prevent sewer lines from backing up into the drains of your home.
- Install a sump pump in the basement.
- STEP 3: Make a Plan
Create an Emergency Plan
Use this template and follow the steps below to create your Emergency Plan!
Collect Important Information
Document contact and other important information for your family and loved ones. Be sure to include contact information for offices, schools, caregivers, veterinarians, and utility service providers. Include health and medical information, such as insurance and doctor information, medications, allergies, and access or functional needs. This helps make it easy for first responders and shelter workers to understand important information about everyone.
Pick an Out-of-Area Contact
Pick an out-of-area contact who can serve as a hub for information if you can’t reach each other. Try to select someone who is far enough away to not be affected by the same emergency. Instruct everyone to call or text this person and tell them where they are. Provide your out-of-area contact with your Emergency Plan and the names and contact information of the people you want to keep informed of your situation.
Agree on Emergency Meeting Places
Decide on three safe, familiar places where you and your loved ones can go for protection or to reunite. Consider parks, landmarks, school grounds, or places of worship.
Plan for Evacuation
Some emergencies may require you to evacuate for your safety. If you need to evacuate your home or neighborhood, make sure you have answers to these questions:
Where will you go?
Although during a disaster evacuation shelters may be opened, ideally your first choice should be to go to a family or friend’s home (or caregiver if appropriate). Be sure to identify alternate locations, too, and document them in your Emergency Plan.
How will you get there?
Discuss how you will get to each of your evacuation locations. What route will you take? Remember in a disaster your normal or preferred route may be closed, so plan accordingly! If members of your household are unable to transport themselves, make sure to plan for their safe evacuation with caregivers, friends, or neighbors.
What will you bring?
Remember the “6 P’s” for evacuation! Take your go-bag with you. If you are evacuating a wildfire, cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, and goggles or glasses.
Consider Specific Needs
Some members of your household may need special accommodation during an emergency, which means planning ahead is even more important! Take into account the special needs of children, seniors or people with disabilities, and pets.
Older Adults: The American Red Cross offers A Practical Guide to Help Plan, Respond and Recover and a Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Checklist for older adults.
People with Disabilities: Check out the American Red Cross Disaster Safety for People with Disabilities for guidance on planning ahead for emergencies, disasters, and evacuation.
Pets: Our pets depend on us for their care and safety. It’s important to prepare them along with your families! Build and store an Emergency Kit for your pets, and make arrangements to ensure you pet has a safe place to stay if you have to evacuate. Pet-friendly shelters and animal boarding facilities will fill up quickly during a disaster.
Emergency Planning for Businesses
Businesses should plan for emergencies too! Ready.gov provides guidance, templates, and toolkits.
Share Your Plan
Make sure everyone carries a copy of your Emergency Plan in their backpack, purse, or briefcase. Share your plan with immediate family, close friends, and your emergency contacts.
Keep a copy of your plan in your Emergency Kits, and post your plan in a central location in your home, such as on the refrigerator.
Practice and Update Your Plan
- Have regular meetings to review and practice your plan. Use these opportunities to:
- Practice Stop, Drop, & Roll and Drop, Cover, & Hold On.
- Practice your evacuation routes.
- Practice texting and calling your out-of-area contact.
- Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and go-bags.
- Locate the gas main and other utilities and make sure family members know when and how to turn them off.
- Teach children how to use fire extinguishers.
At least once a year, review your emergency plan with all household members and emergency contacts. Update any information that has changed since the last time you filled it out.
- STEP 4: Gather Your Supplies
After a major disaster, running water, refrigeration, and telephones, may be unavailable. You may need to survive on your own while local officials and relief workers work to reach everyone. We recommend that you be prepared to be self-sufficient for at least one week. Use these checklists to create an Emergency Kit for your home, and—in case you have to evacuate–Go-Bags for your car and workplace and a package of Important Documents.
Store your household disaster kit in an easily accessible location. Put contents in a large, watertight container (e.g., a large plastic garbage can with a lid and wheels) that you can move easily.
- Emergency Plan and emergency contact information
- Water (one gallon of water per person per day for at least seven days, for drinking and sanitation)
- Food (at least a one-week supply of non-perishable food
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- First aid kit
- Fire extinguisher
- Whistle to signal for help
- N95 respirator masks or cloth face masks for each family member
- Tools, plastic sheeting, and duct tape to shelter-in-place
- Blankets or sleeping bags
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Can opener
- Unscented liquid household bleach and an eyedropper for water purification
- Maps of the area
- Cell phone with chargers
- Any prescription medication you or anyone in the household requires on a daily basis (seven-day supply)
- Infant and children supplies, if needed
- Pet food, water, and supplies (including extra leashes and collars) if needed
Since there is no guarantee that you will be home when disaster strikes, think about what you need if you’re stuck at work for several days, need to rely on your car for short-term shelter, need to make your way home on foot, or need to quickly evacuate. Store these supplies in a small backpack (one for each member of the household and in each car).
- Emergency Plan and emergency contact information
- Water and food
- Small battery-operated radio
- N95 respirator masks or cloth face masks
- Pocket knife
- Emergency cash in small denominations
- Sturdy shoes, a change of clothes, and a warm hat
- Local map
- Permanent marker, paper, and tape
- Photos of family members and pets for re-identification purposes
- Extra prescription eyeglasses, hearing aid or other vital personal items
- Prescription medications and first aid supplies
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Extra keys to your house and vehicle
- Any special items for children, seniors, or people with disabilities
Gathering and organizing important documents will help ensure you have access to important information for everyone in your household, and will help you recover from a disaster more quickly. Use the checklist below to consider which documents you’ll want easy access to, and consult FEMA’s Emergency Financial First Aid Kit for more checklists and forms.
- Emergency Plan and Emergency Contact List
- Drivers Licenses
- Identification Cards
- Birth Certificates
- Social Security Cards
- Medical Records
- Immunization Records
- Insurance Cards
- Bank Statements
- Credit Cards
- Investment Summaries
- Insurance Policies
- Petty Cash & Travelers Checks
- Pet Medical History Records
Maintain your supplies to they are safe to use when you need them! Here are some tips for keeping your supplies ready:
- Keep canned food in a cool, dry place.
- Store boxed food in tightly closed plastic or metal containers to protect from pests and to extend its shelf life.
- Throw out any canned good that becomes swollen, dented or corroded.
- Use foods before they go bad and replace them with fresh supplies.
- Place new items at the back of the storage area and older ones in the front.
- Change stored food and water supplies every six months. Be sure to write the date you store it on all containers.
- Re-think your needs every year and update your kit as your family’s needs change.
- STEP 5: Get Involved
Building social ties and getting involved with your neighbors is a great way to prepare for disaster and to build a resilient community! Consider volunteering with one of these local groups.
Mendocino Auxiliary Communication Services (MACS)
The Mendocino County Auxiliary Communication Service (MACS) is a trained group of volunteers ready to support the Operational Area with communications and radio operator resources in the event of major disaster or incident. Their goal is to support the gathering and distribution of information necessary to respond to and recover from a disaster. The standard means of communication is amateur radio (ham radio), but operators also utilize telephone, fax, email, and digital messaging.
To find out more about MACS, contact OES at OES@mendocinocounty.org.
Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue (SAR)
Search and Rescue (SAR) is an unpaid, all-volunteer, non-profit corporation that currently has members who conduct Search and Rescue operations whenever and wherever we are called upon to do so, by the Mendocino County Sheriff’s Office. We draw all of our resources from our local community of volunteers who train to develop the required skill sets as well as having the discipline and dedication needed to make a difference. SAR operations involve a variety of specialized skill areas such as: Ground Search Teams, ATV Operators, K-9 Handlers, Unmanned Air Squadron Pilots, Underwater Search and Recovery Divers, Search Managers, Logistical Support Staff, and Fund Raisers.
Visit the SAR Website for more information (http://www.mendocinosar.org/)
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
Complete free Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training and become part of a CERT team in your neighborhood. CERT teams train to provide aid to disaster victims and assist first responders in the event of an emergency. Team members provide community education in disaster preparedness and assist with first aid and crowd control at community events.
To find out more about CERT teams in Mendocino County, contact NCO at 707-462-1959 or visit the CERT website.
American Red Cross
Committed, compassionate volunteers are the heart and soul of the American Red Cross of the Northern California Coastal Region Chapter. In our region, over 7,000 dedicated people who volunteer their time and energy to help us serve our community. As a volunteer, you play a vital role in fulfilling the Red Cross mission to relieve human suffering by preventing, preparing for, and responding to emergencies and help us strengthen our community.
North Coast Opportunities (NCO)
The Volunteer Network of Lake and Mendocino Counties creates opportunities for people of all ages to volunteer, learn and lead in their communities. NCO strives to provide volunteers with a high-quality experiences that fuel further action, and envision a day when everyone is inspired and equipped to be the change they wish to see in the world. Visit NCO’s opportunity galleries to see a full list of all volunteer opportunities.
Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils
You and your neighbors know your community’s strengths, priorities, and vulnerabilities in the face of fire. Neighborhood Fire Safe Councils facilitate collective action in wildfire planning, preparation, and education. Join an existing Neighborhood Fire Safe Council or start your own by visiting this website.