ReadySanDiego Frequently Asked Questions

Below are the answers to many frequently asked questions that the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services has received in response to information provided on ReadySanDiego. We hope you find the answers helpful. Please note that these questions are designed to further supplement the information on ReadySanDiego.

Most importantly, as you consider your personal and family preparedness, we urge you to remember that the best thing you and your family can do during an emergency is to listen to messages from your local emergency managers, either broadcasted on radio and/or television. They will tell you when to shelter-in-place and when to evacuate. They will provide you with the best ways to protect yourself and your family. With that information, and the preparedness information provided on ReadySanDiego, you will be better able to take appropriate action quickly and decisively.

Emergency management is the organization and management of resources and responsibilities for dealing with all aspects of emergencies, particularly mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. Emergency management involves plans, structures, and arrangements established to engage the normal endeavors of government, voluntary, and private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to respond to the whole spectrum of emergency. This is also known as disaster management.
One of the easiest things to become better prepared for an emergency is to establish a Family Disaster Plan. Educating yourself and your family is the best answer to emergency preparedness. Make time to sit down together, compile a list of "what if" questions that could occur during a disaster, and come up with answers. For example, "in case of an emergency, do we have everyone's phone number as well as an out-of-town contact?" Using the Family Disaster Plancan help you prepare for and survive a disaster. After completing your plan make sure to practice it with your family so everyone knows what to do during a real emergency.
Each home should prepare a home emergency supply kit that is organized and located for easy access during an emergency. Your emergency supplies should be sufficient to sustain you, your family, and pets for a minimum of 72 hours. A two week supply of medicines and prescription drugs is recommended as well.

A Basic Emergency Kit includes:

  • Water - one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food - at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for canned food
  • Local maps

For a complete guide and further information as to what should be included in the supply kit, please see the Family Disaster Plan. Each family car should also have an emergency supply kit because a disaster may occur while you are away from home.

The ReadySanDiego Kids section focuses on natural disasters. This website helps parents educate children, ages 8-12, about emergencies, and how they can help their families prepare. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encourages parents to visit the website with their children. In addition, DHS has developed Ready Kids in-school materials for teachers, which are available at  or by calling 1-800-BE-READY.
Schools should have an emergency plan. Check with your child's school to find out what the plan is, and to determine the proper actions to be taken during a disaster. If an emergency happens while children are in school, often the school will hold children until the area is safe and parents or a designated adult can pick them up. Parents should not drive to school to pick up children unless advised to do so; driving on the roadways may put you or your child in harm's way.
Pets are also members of the family that should be included when preparing a Family Disaster Plan. Incorporate how you will transport your pet when a disaster strikes. Also, include supplies for your pet in your home emergency supply kit, such as food, water, sanitation supplies, and toys. Placing a collar on your pet now with its rabies tags and identification is a good start in preparing your pet for a disaster. Further information can be obtained at the ReadySanDiego Pets section.
Disaster preparedness in San Diego County includes preparing for wild land fire, earthquake, pandemic influenza, tsunami, flooding, and terrorism, among other disasters. For more information on how to prepare yourself, your family, and your home for these disasters, please visit
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. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community. Further information about the CERT Program can be obtained from the San Diego County CERT Program.
Planning for an emergency also means considering being away from home or on the road when an emergency occurs. One of the easiest ways to prepare for an emergency while on the road is by placing a small emergency supply kit in your car.
For a quick jumpstart on how to prepare yourself, your family, and your business for an emergency, checkout the 30 Tips for Emergency Preparedness provided by the Department of Homeland Security.