When a manmade or natural disaster strikes Orange County, residents may be required to be self-sufficient for up to 5 days or more before help or assistance arrives. Are you prepared? The links below can help assist you:

Prepare Your Family

Make a family plan, communications plan, build a kit, pets plan, special needs planning.

Family & Business

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Pets / Livestock

Prepare Your Community

Read more about our community volunteering & preparedness opportunities.

Government links for additional information:

What types of supplies should I keep on hand for emergency situations?

The Orange County Sheriff's Department Emergency Management Bureau recommends that citizens keep enough supplies at home to meet family needs for at least 72 hours, since it may take that long before outside assistance is available from the state or federal government. Home disaster supply kits should be made up from sturdy and easy to carry containers such as backpacks, duffel bags or large trash containers in the event that you may have to evacuate and take your emergency supplies with you. These emergency supply kits should contain a number of things including the following:

  • Three day supply of water (1 gallon per person, per day)
  • A three day supply of non-perishable packaged or canned food.
  • One change of clothing for each member of the family.
  • Rain gear or coats depending on the time of year.
  • Blankets or sleeping bags for each member of the family.
  • A battery powered radio with extra batteries.
  • Two flashlights with batteries.
  • Emergency candles and matches.
  • Sanitary supplies (toilet paper, handy wipes, etc.).
  • A first aid kit and any prescription medications needed.
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses.
  • Special care items for infants, elderly or disabled family members.
  • Small writing tablet with two or three pencils.
  • Manual can and bottle opener.
  • Pocket knife or multi-purpose type tool.
  • Recommend $50. to $100 money in cash, since automated teller machines may not be working due to power outages.
  • Reading materials or games to help pass the time.

What actions should I take if told to evacuate my home?

In some situations evacuation is the only protective action available to protect the public, if time permits. If you are advised to evacuate, first consider going to the homes of relatives or friends, or checking into a hotel or motel outside the danger area. If these locations are not feasible then you will need to go to a shelter site, but remember that most shelter sites will not allow pets to be brought in due to health, safety and space reasons. Follow instructions provided by press releases, tv/radio and other notification methods such as mass notification, web sites or hotline instructions.

If instructed to evacuate:

  • Stay calm - don't panic.
  • Take only essential emergency supplies with you.
  • Do not go to pick up children at school. They will be taken care of at school or taken to a shelter outside the affected area. Listen to local radio or TV stations, they will have information on where to pick up your children and shelter locations.
  • Unless you are planning to stay with friends or family, leave your pets and farm animals at home. Be sure to put out plenty of water and food for your animals before you leave.
  • Turn off all lights and appliances (including the hot water heater) with the exception of the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Secure windows and doors and tie a white cloth or white towel to your front door as an indicator that you have evacuated (this will save emergency responders time when searching for victims or fatalities).
  • Follow the recommended routes, do not take shortcuts.
  • Notify a family contact person of your location.
  • Stay tuned to your local radio stations for updates.
  • Do not return home until advised to do so.

What should I do if told to "Shelter in Place"?

In certain situations when an emergency occurs so quickly that there is insufficient time to evacuate, or an evacuation would actually place more people in danger, it is necessary to "Shelter in Place". If this should occur, immediately go inside your home or the nearest structure (if you are at work or away from you home), if you have a pet get it inside too, and do the following:

  • Secure all doors and windows (if tape is available, tape cracks for extra protection).
  • Shut off all air conditioners, window fans or other equipment with air intakes.
  • Cover food and put uncovered food in the refrigerator.
  • Move to a center room or central area of the structure (keep water and emergency supplies with you).
  • Keep your TV or radio on and turned onto the Emergency Broadcasting Station (or local stations).
  • Do not use the telephone except for an extreme emergency.
  • Do not leave your home (or the structure) until you are told it is safe to do so.

If you're in an automobile, roll the windows up, close all vents, turn off the fan and leave the area immediately.