How can I prepare for an emergency?

Fire Chief David Endaya, Assistant Fire Chief Matt Brock, and Fire staff at Station 1 during the official launch of Medic Engine 7 (ME7).

Emergencies can happen anywhere at any time, and the time to be ready is now. This September, in celebration of National Preparedness Month, the Ventura Fire Department is asking you to recommit to being prepared for a crisis.

Planning ahead can help you and your family stay safe during a natural disaster or emergency. You should have an emergency kit ready and stocked with enough water, food, and medication for you, your family, and pets for at least 72 hours. Your kit should also include items such as a first-aid kit, tools and supplies, hand-crank or battery operated radio, sanitation items, clothing, and any other unique needs. It’s also a good idea to keep a backpack or plastic tote with basic items at work and in your car in the event that there is a disruption in your ability to commute home.

During a disaster, you may receive critical information from VC Alert, the notification system used to deliver messages to your landline telephone number in the event of an emergency. Ensure that you and your loved ones stay informed and connected by registering to receive alerts on your cell and work phone, email, text, fax or instant messaging. Residents should not rely solely on this system, but should also follow instructions from public safety officials, and seek information from official sources such as details posted on city, county and government websites.

You and your family also need an emergency communications plan in place so that you know how to contact each other and where you will meet if you are not together when emergency strikes. Our dependency on technology has grown to the point that many of us can’t recite our kids’ or partners’ phone numbers. Take the time to think about which phone numbers you need to know (including an out-of-area contact as local phone lines may be jammed) and carry these contacts in your wallet or backpack. Remember, when cell networks are inundated, it will be easier to communicate by text message rather than a voice call.

Part of being prepared for a disaster also includes safeguarding important financial, legal, and insurance documents. Securing these items now will ensure that you can focus on safety, and not worry about searching for documents at the last minute. Learn your area’s evacuation route before an alert is issued and be prepared to leave at a moment’s notice.

Chances are that after a large-scale disaster, a bystander or neighbor will be the first one to help you until emergency workers arrive. When we are prepared to help ourselves and our neighbors, we also increase our community’s disaster recovery success. I am proud to say that during the Thomas Fire, Ventura residents were and continue to be a powerful example of neighbor helping neighbor.

Emergency preparedness is a joint effort between citizens, businesses and city government, and we look forward to working with you to keep you and your family safe.

Register for VC Alert at, and visit to learn how to prepare for a disaster.

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