Skip to Main Content

Emergencies & Your Health

Planning ahead to protect ourselves in a disaster, including people who are medically vulnerable.

Anything happening right now in our area?

If a disaster should happen that effects our area (besides the COVID-19 pandemic), you'll find up-to-date details on this webpage. 

Santa Clara County -- sign up with AlertSCC to get local emergency alerts on your phone.

Alert SCC

For other counties in our area, find your local warnings by searching with your county name and the word: Alert.

What's the Emergency?

Click on any of these links to see more.


     Plan for emergencies               Extreme weather                          Power outages


     Wildfire                                        Flooding or slides                        Earthquake


  1. Information on preparing for an emergency, making a family plan (including the needs of medically vulnerable people), and what to do if you have to evacuate.
  2. Coping with extreme heat or unusual cold, getting through severe storms safely.
  3. Staying safe when the power goes out for awhile.
  4. Planning ahead for fire, what to do in a wildfire situation and when returning home after a fire.
  5. Preparing for flooding, what to do when the waters rise or the mud slides.
  6. What to do at the time a major earthquake hits - and what to do afterwards.

COVID-19 is still with us. Even though many of the resources in this collection don't mention it directly, during this pandemic we need to protect against infection while preparing for other disasters.

When the Temperatures are High or the Air Quality is Poor  -

The Santa Clara County Public Health Office advises people who are most at-risk (older adults, pregnant women, children, and people with chronic respiratory and/or heart conditions) to:

  • Stay inside as much as possible, with doors and windows closed. If it is too warm to stay inside with the windows closed, or if you are especially sensitive to smoke, consider moving to a cooling center for awhile.
  • Keep pets inside, too.
  • Contact your healthcare team if you have a difficult time breathing, or symptoms of overheating.
  • Avoid vigorous exercise outside.
  • Avoid using indoor pollutants like candles, gas stoves, and fireplaces.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • If you can, use a properly-sized portable air filter to help remove smoke & particulates from indoor air.
  • Wear a well-fitting N95 or KN95 - equivalent face mask.

How is the Air Quality?

Smoke and particles in the air can cause serious health problems to both people and pets, and unfortunately just smelling smoke isn't enough to tell whether breathing outside air is dangerous. Here are links to air quality tracking and advisory websites:

Different methods used to calculate air quality give us different numbers, and it can be confusing. This article helps to explain why - and suggests how to find the best resource for your location:

Beware Donation Scams

Beware Donation Scams

When disasters hit, for many people the first thought after "I'm safe (mostly)" is "How can I help?". Unfortunately, though, for some that second thought is "how can I make a profit from this?".  Scammers feed on our desires to help each other.

If asked for money:

Please be cautious of crowdfunding requests, individuals asking for gift card donations, and other requests for cash or checks. Verify that the organization or company making the ask is legitimate; and dig further into GoFundMe requests before giving. If the funds are supposedly going to a particular charity, call or email that organization directly to ask for confirmation that a third party is fundraising for them.


If asked for material donations (food, blankets or towels, clothing, toys, equipment, etc.):

Double-check with the organization that will be distributing those donations to find out 1) if they are still accepting donations, and 2) if there are limits on what kinds of materials they can accept. Donated items should be clean and undamaged; packaged food items should be within their sell-by date and ideally easy-to-open and ready-to serve.


If you suspect  a scam, please report it!

To find out where and how to report a suspected scam, check these links:

Thanks to:

All the agencies that provided information resources, and especially to the following organizations that reviewed and gave us feedback on this guide:

  • Santa Clara Fire District, Office of Emergency Management
  • Satellite Healthcare

The text on this page is copyright PlaneTree Health Library, licensed under Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0. Linked contents are the responsibility of their creators or copyright holders.