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Frequently Asked Questions

What does the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) do?

Emergencies happen every day, and the community calls 9-1-1 to get Fire Department, Police Department or Ambulance services. The city has immediate resources to support you on a daily basis.

There are other times when response won't be as quick, such as when a major earthquake strikes the Silicon Valley. The role of the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is to help the Fire Chief, Police Chief, Mayor, and City Manager, along with all City staff to organize response and recovery efforts. To lessen the impact of the potential disaster, OEM also works with community members, including you and your family, to be prepared. OEM provides information and training on how to build an emergency kit, create an emergency communications plan and identify how to stay informed so you know what to do next.

Here is a great video that explains the basics of Emergency Management.

What goes on behind the scenes to get all of that done?

The Office of Emergency Management leads efforts to protect life, property and the environment by developing, coordinating and managing programs that prevent, prepare for, respond to, recover from, and mitigate natural and man-made disasters and emergencies. More specifically, the OEM manages the following functions:

  • Hazard identification, risk assessment and impact analysis
  • Hazard mitigation
  • Planning
  • Direction, control and coordination
  • Communications and warning
  • Operations and procedures
  • Logistics and facilities
  • Resource management
  • Mutual aid
  • Training
  • Exercises, evaluations and corrective actions
  • Crisis communications and public information
  • Finance and administration
  • Laws and authorities

How do I sign up for CERT training?

Find out more about our CERT program here.

Can I get a speaker to provide training in emergency preparedness to my church/business/neighborhood group?

Sure, just fill out this speaker request form (coming soon) so we can schedule the event and get someone assigned to come out and speak to your group.

What should I include in my emergency kit?

There are many lists out there, here are a couple we like and recommend from FEMA and Red Cross.

How do I sign up for emergency alerts?

Sign up for AlertSCC here with a cell phone, email address, or home phone, and we will make sure you stay informed.

What can I do to prepare my family/business/church for a disaster?

Download this free disaster planning guide for your smart phone from Santa Clara County:

I don’t have a smart phone, or I prefer a paper to write my plan on. Any suggestions?

Sure, no problem. Here you go …

I need an emergency plan for my business and employees. Any suggestions?

Ask and you shall receive!

An emergency supply kit does not change for a business, it just scales up or down according to the number of employees you have on staff.

I need an emergency plan for my Church, Synagogue, Mosque, Temple or place of worship. How can we prepare?

Places of worship are playing a greater role in disaster management so we recommend the following resources for you and your faith-based community.

The last document referenced above is filled with links to great resources. While it’s from 2013 and things do change fast in our technologically advanced society, the themes are still relevant.

An emergency supply kit does not change for a faith based organization, it just scales up according to the number of people in your congregation and others affected by a disaster who you wish to serve.

The Collaborating Agencies’ Disaster Relief Effort (CADRE) is a network of organizations that provide community services that are essential in times of disaster. They also coordinate organizational preparedness planning in non-disaster times and are a great resource for your faith-based group.

I have a family member or members with special medical needs or a disability, how can I help them prepare for a disaster?

Here are some great resources for you to help your family member with special medical needs or access and functional needs be disaster resilient!

I run a board and care home with people who have access and functional needs, what can I do to prepare the facility and the residents for a disaster?

Thanks for being prepared for your special community. We have some great resources for you!

What should I do with my pet in the case of a disaster?

We get it. Pets are family too. So much so that after Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Government directed FEMA to recognize the need to plan for pets in a large scale disaster. So here in San José our Animal Care Center works with us during disasters to help take care of pets. We try and locate pet shelters along with or very close to the people shelters. We also work with the County Office of Emergency Services and Animal Care for large pets like horses. Here is some basic information for you to help make sure your pet has its own go bag in case your family has to evacuate:

What does “shelter in place” mean?

When local officials tell you to shelter-in-place, the intention is to keep you safe while remaining indoors. It means to find a small, interior room, with no or few windows, and take refuge there. Typically, the instructions to shelter-in-place means to shelter for a few hours, not days or weeks at a time. Keep listening to your radio or TV until you are told it's safe.


Does the City of San José have a disaster plan?

Yes, and it’s very long. But we encourage you to read the entire document. And if you want a deeper dive into more information, here are the plans for the County, the Bay Area, and the State:

What types of disasters should we prepare for here in the Bay Area?

The only type of disaster that we don’t see here in the Golden State is Hurricanes. What we try to prepare for are the more frequent and expected types of disasters. And for all of us here in the Northern California Bay Area, that means earthquakes, fires and floods. We take an all-hazards approach to emergency preparedness, so if you have an emergency Kit, an emergency communications Plan, and are ready to Stay Informed via smart phone, radio, or TV, then you are ready for whatever comes your way!

What is the best way to stay informed during a disaster?

The best way is whatever works for you and your family. Not everyone has or likes smart phones, and not everyone likes to send text messages. But that is a really good way to stay in contact during an emergency because text messages will go through when phone calls might not. Radio is a proven technology that has been helping us in emergency response for almost 100 years. And remember, you probably still have a radio charged and ready to go if you own a car. TV is great if it’s still working. Same goes for the internet. We will push messages out to the public in any way we can after a disaster including emergency phone, radio and TV messages. We will also send Police and Fire units out to your neighborhood with public address systems, longer range loud speakers, and to knock on your door if we have to. Stay alert, stay tuned and stay informed!

Does the City of San José have fallout shelters in case of nuclear disaster?

We no longer have nuclear fallout shelters in San Jose. That program went the way of the Dodo bird in the early 1960’s. But you can get some information on preparing for this horrific, and hopefully, unlikely event. And while you are at it, why not learn how to dodge zombies? But seriously, the videos have some great emergency planning and preparedness tips, so enjoy, and know that you really are ready now for WHATEVER might come our way!