Emergency preparedness tips for living in San Jose, CA

San Jose, CA View from the mountain

San Jose is one of the most attractive cities in the country, with a climate that’s warm enough for year-round outdoor activities and plenty of natural beauty to enjoy. But when an emergency strikes, it’s important to remember that San Jose is also a big city with all the typical problems that come along with urban life. The Bay Area is prone to earthquakes, fires, floods, and other unfortunate events that can disrupt your daily routine and make you feel unsafe. Even if you’re living in San Jose temporarily (for work or school), it’s a good idea to make sure you know what to do in case of an emergency—and it’s just as important to prepare yourself for any small disasters that could happen at home.

This post will give you some emergency preparedness tips on how to take care of yourself during both small emergencies and major disasters. It’ll cover everything from food and water storage advice to medical advice—so read on and make sure you’re as prepared as possible for anything that may happen.

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Natural Disasters in San Jose

Being prepared for emergencies is a good habit to get into. While most people will eventually experience an emergency, you can lessen the impact of that emergency by being ready for it. Below are some tips on how to get prepared, so you’re ready when the next disaster strikes:

Earthquakes in San Jose

While it is possible to survive a major earthquake, experts recommend that you take steps to make sure your home is stable. To avoid falling objects and flying debris, it’s a good idea to have a few key items on hand at all times. First, you’ll want to keep an eye on the items around your house which can fall quite easily: pictures, vases, and other knick-knacks. An effective solution is to stay away from them in order to not get hurt when they fall. 

If the power goes out, light candles and incense or use flashlights, lanterns, and battery-operated candles. To avoid buying emergency food, stockpile food. Having an emergency food kit ready could save you time during emergencies by preparing you for unexpected situations. When a large earthquake strikes San Jose, you may receive a 10- or 15-second warning. Prepare emergency plans and supplies. Remember to Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Save the emergency phone numbers on your phone or write them down on a piece of paper.

Lastly, if there’s ever an emergency and your house becomes completely submerged in water, having a boat on standby will come in handy. The difference between life and death could be as simple as knowing how to swim and being able to protect yourself with waterproof life vests!

Great ShakeOut Earthquake Drills

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Volcano Preparedness

There are at least seven active California volcanoes, none of which are close to San Jose, but they can still cause ashfall and tremors if they erupt. Similarly, you can prepare yourself if something happens by following the advice of the local authorities. They will advise you on how to prepare for a volcanic eruption and, if required, how to evacuate (leave the region) or seek refuge where you are.

If a lahar, pyroclastic flow, or lava flow is heading your way, you must evacuate quickly. Evacuate if you have been advised that an eruption is impending. If you have the option of driving rather than walking, do so. Keep doors and windows closed when driving, drive across the path of danger if possible or away from it if you can’t, and keep an eye out for odd road hazards.

If you are indoors, close all windows, doors, and fireplace or woodstove dampers. Turn off all fans, heating, and cooling systems. Bring pets and livestock inside closed shelters. If you are outside, seek cover inside. This may seem obvious, but it’s very important in both the initial eruption and any resulting rockfall. If you feel the ground shaking or hear rumbling nearby, run inside as quickly as possible. If there isn’t enough time for that, try to find an enclosed space within about 50 yards of where you are. Put as much distance between yourself and the eruption as possible, even if it means going through buildings or other obstacles like trees.

Volcanic Eruption

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Ashfall during a volcano eruption

If possible, stay inside with the windows and doors closed. Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are required. To safeguard your eyes, wear goggles. If ash is constantly falling, you may not be able to stay indoors for more than a few hours since the weight of the ash could collapse your building’s roof and obstruct air intake. When ashfall lasts more than a few hours, follow the advice of authorities and leave the area.

Volcanic ash is a mixture of tiny rock fragments and gasses. When it falls from the sky, it can be inhaled, causing irritation to your respiratory tract and lungs. Depending on the size of the particles and the amount you breathe in, exposure to volcanic ash could cause discomfort or illness ranging from mild to very serious.

When you’re outside while ash is falling, cover your mouth and nose with a disposable particulate respirator or a nuisance dust mask. If you don’t have one, cover your face with a wet cloth or shirt sleeve that you can discard if it becomes soiled with ash. To avoid breathing in large amounts of dust, turn off your automobile or truck’s engine and keep windows rolled up. Stay indoors if possible.

Volcanic Ashfall captured by USGS

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Flooding Emergency Tips

When Coyote Creek flooded in February 2017 as a result of intense atmospheric river storms, it was San Jose’s biggest flood since 1997, forcing 14,000 residents to flee and incurring an estimated $100 million in damage. So, in order to avoid a disaster like this, what should you do in a flooding emergency situation? It is critical to grasp the distinction between watch and warning in order to know what to do to keep safe.  Pay attention to changing weather and flood conditions, and be ready to relocate to higher ground if necessary. When flooding is taking place or is likely to take place, avoid low-lying places, and evacuate if necessary.

Preparing before a flood

Flooding is a very serious threat, not just to your property but to your safety. It’s important that you know what to do if flooding strikes, so you can make smart decisions about how to stay safe.

In the event of a flood warning or a flash flood warning, listen for instructions from local authorities and media outlets. If you’re advised to evacuate, you should immediately move to higher ground or stay on high ground. If you’re told to get out of your car and seek higher ground, do so immediately. But if you’re told to go back home and wait for further instructions, keep checking the media for updates and follow the instructions of public safety officials.

If you must evacuate your home, take only essential items with you and bring your pets with you. You may be instructed by emergency personnel or media outlets on what to bring when evacuating, but in any case, make sure that anything you bring is lightweight: it’s going to be difficult enough getting yourself out of harm’s way without having your arms full of heavy possessions that could slow you down or become dangerous projectiles in the event of an earthquake or other natural disaster.

Wildfires in San Jose

While San Jose is no stranger to wildfires, the Santa Clara Valley and East Foothills communities face a unique risk due to the fact that they are home to the wildland-urban interface (WUI). This term refers to the areas where urban development meets wildlands, and it places these areas at a significantly higher risk for wildfires. Property owners and inhabitants in San Jose who live in or near a wildland-urban interface area are recommended to take the following precautions:

  • Make a barrier between your property and the surrounding vegetation to keep it from catching fire. To help your home resist heat, flames, and embers, use building materials and installation procedures. Determine your home’s evacuation routes and choose an out-of-area contact in case of separation. Make a to-go bag with enough goods to last 72 hours for each member of your household.
  • Before a wildfire, review and update your home’s insurance coverage. Create a pre-evacuation checklist to help strengthen your home’s defenses in the event of an evacuation. Monitor wildfires in your area and familiarize yourself with your community’s emergency response plan, evacuation orders, and evacuation centers.

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Emergency Evacuation Centers and Hotlines in San Jose, CA

  • Roosevelt Community Center – (408) 794-7555 – 901 E Santa Clara St
  • Shirakawa Community Center – (408) 794-6552 – 2072 Lucretia Ave
  • Santa Clara Valley Medical Center – (408) 885-5000 – 751 S Bascom Ave
  • O’Connor Hospital – (408) 947-2500 – 2105 Forest Ave
  • San Jose City Police Department – (408) 277-8900 – 201 W Mission St
  • Station 30 – (408) 794-7000 – 454 Auzerais Ave
  • Station 1 – (408) 794-7000 – 225 N Market St

If you’re living in the Bay Area, it’s important to be prepared for any kind of emergency. Whether it’s an earthquake, a wildfire, or a flood, knowing what to do can help keep you and your loved ones safe. Make sure you have an emergency plan and supplies ready to go, and if you need help moving to San Jose, our team at A2B Movers is here to assist you. Contact us today for more information on how we can help make your move as smooth as possible.

Moving to San Jose? Let us help! 

A2B Movers San Jose

A2B Movers is a professional moving company established in San Jose, California in 2010. We serve our commercial and residential customers all around the Bay Area and Los Angeles County. Our goal is to provide a happy and affordable moving experience. We are licensed and insured by the California Public Utilities Commission and the U.S. Department of Transportation. Your goods and property are fully covered by insurance.

Call A2B Movers San Jose Now!

A2B Movers San Jose

San Jose, CA 95126

(408) 831-3682


We are a local moving company established in San Jose in 2010. All these years we serve our commercial and residential customers all around the Bay Area and Los Angeles county. Our goal is a happy and affordable moving experience.

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