How to Prepare for Disasters & Emergencies

Create a Personal Disaster Plan

Emergencies can range from falls in the home to fires and earthquakes. Each person has unique abilities and needs during a disaster, and everyone can take steps to prepare. You can start to prepare with the help of two easy-to-use guides from the County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services:

  1. Personal Disaster Plan for People Who May Need Assistance – This new guide launched in 2021 will help you evaluate your needs and make a personalized emergency plan so that you and your loved ones can be better prepared. The guide is available in
  2. Personal Disaster Plan – The Personal Disaster Plan was developed by the County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services to help you, your loved ones and neighbors better prepare for, respond to, and recover from an emergency or disaster. Practice this plan yourself or with your loved ones at least twice a year and be READY.

Download the Free SD Emergency App

The County of San Diego Office of Emergency Services (OES) created the free SD Emergency App to better prepare and inform San Diego County residents and visitors about disasters. With SD Emergency, the tools you need to plan, prepare, and respond in an emergency are right at your fingertips.

Download the free app on your phone.

Register for AlertSanDiego

If you don’t have a landline and only use a cell phone, you can register your email or cell phone number to receive emergency alerts from the County of San Diego.

Sign up here to get notified.

Community Emergency Response Teams

Local government prepares for everyday emergencies. However, during a disaster, the number and scope of incidents can overwhelm conventional emergency services. The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors, and your neighborhood in an emergency situation.

CERT is a positive and realistic approach to emergency and disaster situations where citizens may initially be on their own and their actions can make a difference. While people will respond to others in need without the training, one goal of the CERT program is to help them do so effectively and efficiently without placing themselves in unnecessary danger.

In the CERT training, citizens learn to:

  • Manage utilities and put out small fires
  • How to open airways, control bleeding, treating for shock, and providing medical aid
  • Search for and rescue victims safely
  • Organize themselves and spontaneous volunteers to be effective
  • Collect disaster intelligence to support first responder effort

Cities and communities with existing teams are listed here.

If you don't see your city or community on the list, please contact your nearest fire department and ask the Fire Chief when/if they plan to start a CERT program in your neighborhood.