Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can. Here are some steps to take now.

Save and Prepare Financially for an Emergency

  • Gather critical financial, personal, household, and medical information and have it all handy and ready to take with you in an emergency.
    Tip: Store information on a flash drive and keep in a secure place, and have one in your Go Bag.
  • Save money in an emergency savings account that can be used in a crisis.
  • Keep some cash at home in a safe place. ATMs and credit cards may not work during a disaster when you need to purchase necessary supplies, fuel or food.
  • Check Your Insurance Coverage.
    Be sure you have adequate and appropriate coverage. Most homeowner and business insurance policies do not cover damage from earthquakes and floods. Check on your fire coverage as well.

    NOTE: Many homeowners in California are finding that insurance companies are refusing to provide property and casualty insurance after recent devasting wildfires.

    The Fire Safe Council of Santa Cruz County hosted a presentation on Homeowners Insurance in High Risk Fire Areas, with valuable information on insurance in general as well as the non-renewal issues (starts around 35:00).

    Tips include:
    • Contact your insurer – are there any actions to take to mitigate risk and be renewed?
    • File complaint with California Department of Insurance if you think a non-renewal is unfair.
    • Start the search right away for a new insurer while doing everything you can to mitigate risk.
    • There may be other options, including Fair Plan.
  • United Policyholders is a non-profit organization that provides numerous resources and services for consumers, including disaster recovery help, claim guidance, and preparedness education, as well as advocacy and action and guidance for professional help. Click here to read “Dropped by your Insurer? Where to go for help in California.”
  • Download the Emergency Financial First Aid Kit (EFFAK) to get started today. Completing the kit will take some time, but it will be worth it – you will have everything you need in one place!

Here's a short video with some good tips: Three Steps to Prepare Your Finances for Natural Disasters

Make a Plan and Practice

Discuss key questions with your family, friends, or coworkers.

  • How will we receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is our shelter plan?
  • What is our evacuation plan
  • What is our family/household communication plan?
  • Review specific needs, responsibilities, and resources. Here are some factors to think about:
    • Ages of members of your family
    • Dietary needs
    • Medical needs, including prescriptions and equipment
    • Disabilities
    • Language, cultural and religious considerations
  • Remember your pets!
  • Create and write out your plan.
  • Practice the plan together - this will enable you, your family and coworkers to act and communicate quickly, access supplies and evacuate if necessary in a real emergency.

Note: Remember to register for CodeRED , the regional reverse 911 service for Santa Cruz County, to be informed and prepared in the event of an emergency. You will receive evacuation notices, bio-terrorism alerts, missing person reports, and severe weather alerts.

Teach Your Children

Preparing for emergencies is a family affair. Young children and teens need to be part of the process, for their own safety and empowerment.

Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness

Resources and Links