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Emergency Preparedness

Community Emergency Response Team (C.E.R.T.)
The City of Irvine began its Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program in October 2000. This eight week course covers: Disaster Operations, Disaster Psychology and Team Organization, First Aid, Fire Suppression, Light Search and Rescue.

This course cumulates with an exercise where students can test the skills they have learned. CERT graduates are trained to care for their families and their neighbors in the event of a local disaster. 

For more information, contact the Irvine CERT Program Manager at 949-724-7054 or click here.

Disaster Supplies Kit

In the event of a major emergency or disaster, you and your family may need to survive on your own for three days or even more. Prepare now by assembling an emergency supply kit. Water, food and other necessary supplies should be stored in an easily accessible location, and should be updated on a regular basis. 

Irvine's Emergency Management Office offers free brochures with  comprehensive information about being prepared for emergencies. For more information, call 949-724-7235 or visit the Emergency Preparedness webpage.

Recommended supplies include:

  • Flashlight  with batteries
  • Portable radio with batteries
  • Three gallons of water per person
  • Non-perishable foods
  • Manual can opener
  • First aid kit
  • Prescribed medications
  • Whistle
  • Eyeglasses
  • Heavy shoes, clothing, gloves
  • Blankets
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Crescent wrench
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Cash
  • Pet food
  • Blankets

Remember: Many families may have individual needs. Be sure to take these into consideration as you prepare for their safety and comfort following a disaster.

Earthquakes - General Information
An earthquake is the sudden release of energy when pieces of the earth's crust move against on another. This often occurs along fault lines, which reflect zones of weakness in the earth's crust. Movement along these fault lines is horizontal, vertical, or a combination of both ways.

The faults of concern for Irvine include the Inglewood-Newport, the San Andreas and the San Joaquin Hills faults. Earthquakes can cause buildings and bridges to collapse, down telephone and power lines, and result in fires, explosions, and landslides. Earthquakes can also cause huge ocean waves, called tsunamis, which travel long distances over water until they crash into coastal areas. 

Earthquakes are measured on the Richter scale, a measurement system that measures the intensity and strength of an earthquake on a scale from 0 to 10. 

For more information about earthquakes, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235

Emergency Broadcast Stations
The Emergency Broadcast System, known as EBS, is a network of commercial radio and television stations that have agreed to broadcast emergency announcements in case of an emergency or disaster. These announcements keep you aware of the nature and immediacy of the emergency, as well as providing instructions regarding evacuation routes, shelter locations, and the like.

The majority of area television and radio stations participate in EBS. Your best sources for emergency information for Irvine is the city's website, ICTV Channel 30, or 1640AM Emergency Radio station.  

For more information about disaster and emergency planning and relief, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235 or visit the Office of Emergency Management webpage.

Emergency Management Office - General Information

Emergency Management is responsible for the overall preparation, coordination and management of any potential/actual major emergency or disaster within the City of Irvine. The functions of Emergency Management include Planning/Preparation, Training, Education, Mitigation, Response, and Recovery. The following information will provide a general outline of each of these functions.

Planning/Preparation--Updating the City's Emergency Management Plan, overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of the Emergency Operations Center and the Mobile Command Center, and networking with other local agencies and the Orange County Operational Area.


Training--Conducting and scheduling disaster-related training and exercises within the City and in cooperation with other agencies.


Education--Providing emergency awareness and disaster preparedness information to the general public, businesses and schools.


Mitigation--Overseeing the implementation of the City's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan.

Response--Activating the Emergency Operations Center during emergencies, acting as liaison with outside agencies, assisting the Emergency Operations Director as needed.


Recovery--Assisting in the procurement of needed documentation for State and Federal disaster-related reimbursement, participating in evaluation of the infrastructure, arranging for emotional recovery programs as needed.

For more information about Emergency Management, call 949-724-7235 or visit the Office of Emergency Management webpage.

Emergency Planning Checklist

When disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Citizens need to prepare to be on their own for the first 72 hours after a disaster.  Emergency preparedness is important to ensure the safety of yourself and your family.

The City of Irvine's Emergency Management Office has identified those disasters which are most common in this area and the ways to prepare for them. For more information, call 949-724-7235 or visit the Office of Emergency Management webpage.

  • Prepare a checklist to identify the information and supplies you will need to be prepared. Post the list where everyone will see it.
  • Explain how to respond and stay safe during an emergency situation.
  • Plan escape routes from your home and set up a meeting place outside. 
  • Show responsible family members how to turn off the main water, gas, and electrical switches.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones. Choose one out-of-state and one local contact for family members to call if separated during a disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area). Teach children how and when to call these numbers.
  • Assemble disaster supplies kits that includes a battery-powered radio, flashlight, family records and valuables, food, water, and clothing.
  • Take a basic first aid and CPR class. Make arrangements for your pets, as they are not allowed in public shelters.
  • Talk with employers and school officials about their emergency response plans.

Additionally, if you are or live with elderly or disabled persons, there may be other considerations.

  • Create a network of neighbors, relatives, and friends to aid you in an emergency. Discuss with them your needs, and make sure they know how to operate any necessary equipment.
  • If you live in an apartment building, ask the management to mark accessible exits clearly and to make arrangements to help you evacuate the building.
  • Keep extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, etc., available. Also, keep a list of the type and serial numbers of medical devices you need.

Floods - General Information

Floods are the most common and widespread of all natural hazards. Some floods develop over a period of days, but flash floods can result in raging waters in just a few minutes. Flash floods carry a deadly cargo of rocks, mud, and other debris, and can occur without any visible sign of rainfall. Mudslides are another danger created by flooding.

Be aware of flood hazards, especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water, or downstream from a dam. Most areas in Southern California are at risk from the hazards of flooding, especially during El Nino rainstorm events.

For more information about floods and the likelihood of occurrence in Irvine, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235. 

Hazardous Materials Incidents - General Information
From industrial chemicals and toxic waste to household detergents and air fresheners, hazardous materials are part of our everyday lives. Hazardous materials are substances, which because of their chemical, physical, or biological nature, pose a potential risk to life, health, or property if they are handled improperly.

Chemical plants are one source of hazardous materials, but there are many others. Service stations store gasoline and diesel fuel, hospitals use a wide range of radioactive and flammable materials, and hazardous materials waste sites process thousands of different materials every day.

Accidents involving hazardous materials can happen anytime, and range from a chemical spill on a highway, to groundwater contamination by naturally occurring methane gas, to ingesting a household cleaner at home. Hazardous materials incidents are accidents which affect a large number of people. While fairly uncommon, these incidents can happen anytime, anywhere.

For more information about hazardous materials incidents and their likelihood in Irvine, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235.

How Will I Be Notified About Outages

As soon as a Stage 3 Emergency is declared, Southern California Edison (SCE) will contact the news media, especially radio and television stations, which are encouraged to broadcast the news immediately. SCE may have as little as 10 minutes after a Stage 3 Emergency is declared before it begins rotating outages. Obviously, that is not enough time to allow individual notifications for the affected customers. Customers can contact SCE at 800-611-1911 to find out whether their neighborhood is part of a current controlled outage.   

For more information about Stage 3 Emergencies and rotating outages, visit sce.com.

Landslides-General Information

A landslide is defined as the movement of a mass of rock, debris, or earth down a slope. Factors which can initiate a landslide include rainfall, earthquakes, volcanic activity, changes in groundwater, as well as changes or disturbances in a slope caused by man-made construction activities. 

Landslides can be rapidly moving or slow moving.  Rapidly moving landslides present the greatest risk to human life, and people living in or traveling through areas prone to rapidy moving landslides are at increased risk of serious injury.  Slow moving landslides can cause significant property damage, but are less likely to result in serious human injuries.

For more information on landslides, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235.

One of the most effective means of protection against disaster is to take steps to reduce, or mitigate, the impact of disaster. Mitigation is the cornerstone of Emergency Management. It's the ongoing effort to lessen the impact disasters have on people's lives and property through damage prevention and insurance. 

Engineering buildings and infrastructure to withstand earthquakes, and creating and enforcing building codes to protect against natural disasters are examples of mitigation.

The City of Irvine has a Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan that addresses a variety of ways to lessen the impact of disasters locally. Citizens can also take mitigation steps of their own, such as installing smoke detectors, securing bookcases and water heaters, and safely storing flammables. 

For more information on the City of Irvine's Natural Hazard Mitigation Plan, or for other ideas on how you can mitigate for disasters, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235. 

National Security Emergencies-Terrorism General Information

The City of Irvine Emergency Management Office recommends that citizens be prepared for all emergencies, whether national security emergencies related to terrorism, or other man-made or natural disasters. 

The threat of terrorism may prompt some to take precautionary steps, but the reality is that in Southern California, a large-scale earthquake has the potential to exceed the destruction presented through terrorist acts. Therefore, it is prudent to prepare for the disruption of services that may occur during any major emergency or disaster. Prepare to deal with a terrorist incident by adapting many of the same techniques used to prepare for other crises.

  • Be alert and aware of the surrounding area. The very nature of terrorism suggests that there may be little or no warning.
  • Take precautions when traveling. Be aware of conspicuous or unusual behavior. Do not accept packages from strangers. Do not leave luggage unattended.
  • Learn where emergency exits are located. Think ahead about how to evacuate a building, subway or congested public area in a hurry. Learn where staircases are located.

Notice your immediate surroundings. Be aware of heavy or breakable objects that could move, fall or break in an explosion.

For more information regarding terrorism, contact the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235. 

Public Disaster Shelters
In extreme emergencies, the City of Irvine may advise you by means of emergency broadcast radio or television to evacuate your home and seek shelter. When this happens your first choice for shelter should always be a friend or relative's house in a safe and accessible area.

When conditions prevent this, you should try to take refuge in a public disaster shelter operated by emergency management agencies. Irvine has designated a number of buildings, primarily schools, as possible public shelters.

The exact number and location of shelters opened will be determined based upon the emergency. Listen for local radio and television announcements on shelter locations and opening times. Do not go to a shelter before it is scheduled to open.

Public shelters are little more than basic survival facilities, so when going to a shelter be prepared to bear the inconveniences of shelter life and to cooperate with the officials in charge.

For more information on shelters, call the Emergency Management Office at 949-724-7235. 

Water Purification

Three Ways to Treat Water
In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water can contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should treat all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. There are many ways to treat water. None is perfect. Often the best solution is a combination of methods.

Two easy treatment methods are boiling and disinfection. These measures will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before treating, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or clean cloth.

Boiling is the safest method of treating water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind that some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers. This will also improve the taste of stored water.

Disinfection uses household liquid bleach to kill microorganisms. Use only regular household liquid bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, colorsafe bleaches or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water, stir and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes.

The only agent used to treat water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores that do not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as the only active ingredient, are not recommended and should not be used.

While the two methods just described will kill most microbes in water, distillation will remove microbes that resist these methods, and heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals.

Distillation involves boiling water and then collecting the vapor that condenses back to water. The condensed vapor will not include salt and other impurities. To distill, fill a pot halfway with water. Tie a cup to the handle on the pot's lid so that the cup will hang right-side-up when the lid is upside-down (make sure the cup is not dangling into the water) and boil the water for 20 minutes. The water that drips from the lid into the cup is distilled.

This information regarding water purification is provided on the American Red Cross website. For more information, visit redcross.org.

Wildfires - General Information

More and more people are making their homes in woodland settings in or near forests, rural areas or remote mountain sites. Homeowners enjoy the beauty of the environment, but face the very real danger of wildfire. These intense fires, triggered by lightning, drought, or accidents, often begin unnoticed. They sweep quickly through wildland areas, igniting brush, trees and homes.

Reduce your risk by preparing now before wildfire strikes. Meet with your family to decide what to do and where to go if wildfires threaten your area. Ask fire authorities for information about wildland fires in your area. Find out whether they can inspect your house and property for hazards.

For more information about wildfires and their likelihood in the City of Irvine, call The Orange County Fire Authority at 714-573-6000, or visit


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