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Alameda Prepares

An Introduction to Prepare Our Island

The United States Geological Survey currently estimates there is a 63% probability of an earthquake with a magnitude of at least 6.7 occurring in the Bay Area in the next 30 years. This Big One, experts warn, could result in fallen buildings, broken gas and water lines, and fires.


This information has been well-publicized. Yet studies show that the majority of Californians aren’t prepared for an earthquake – or any other disaster. A 2014 study by the Public Policy Institute of California, for instance, found that 64% of Californians are “very” or “somewhat” worried about a disaster. But only 52% of them have a disaster supply kit, and only 44% of them have a disaster plan.


In 2017, AUSD and the City of Alameda  joined forces to improve those numbers locally by organizing an island-wide, multi-week earthquake preparation project. We know that the topic of earthquake preparation can be overwhelming, so we created eight weeks of tips to lead community members through collecting supplies, finding appropriate containers, and creating an emergency plan for friends and family. We’ve also written a layperson-friendly guide to general principles of emergency preparedness. Our goal? To help everyone in our community prepare for a disaster so that both individuals and our community at large are more resilient.


You can find the weekly tips and supplemental materials on this page or at Alameda Prepares. And on social media, follow #PrepareOurIsland to find comments and tips from community members!

Week 1 - Collect Water

Scientists predict that a major earthquake could damage the distribution system that provides much of the Bay Area with clean, fresh water. That’s why it’s important to collect and store enough water for drinking, washing, and possibly cooking. 


Week 2 - Gather Food

In the event of a major earthquake, roads could be blocked, stores could be closed, and restaurants may be rendered inoperable. Your own kitchen may also not be usable, so gathering and storing food for all family members is an essential part of earthquake preparation.

Week 3 - Create A Family Bin

A complete emergency preparedness kit includes clothing, bedding, and shelter, plus toiletries and tools - and your water and food, of course.

Week 4 - Copy Important Documents

You may very well need but not have access to documents or on-line information that identifies you, your financial accounts, important contact numbers, and your medical needs and insurance coverage in the event of an emergency. That's why it's important to have copies of your information in your earthquake kit. 

Week 5 - Create Your "Go" Bages

Keep a small bag filled with vital supplies - such as water, a coat, a snack, and some important papers - in a place where you can easily grab it if you need to exit your home quickly.

Week 6 - Create On-the-go Go Bags!

Just as you need "go" bags in your home, you should have one in your office and/or car. That way you have a small stash of supplies available if there's an emergency situation while you're outside the house.

Week 7 - Prepare Your Home

While you can't prevent an earthquake, you can minimize the risk of destruction to your home (and your family members) by earthquake proofing your home and belongings.

Week 8 - Make (and Practice) a Family Plan!

Just as every one of AUSD's school sites conducts emergency drills so that students and staff know what to do, so too should you and anyone living in your household!

Diamond-shaped logo that says  Prepare Our Island

7 Principles of Emergency Preparedness


  1. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good: Sometimes it’s hard to get started on emergency preparedness because there is just so much to do. Don’t worry about that. Just do the best you can. Put another way…
  2. Start small: You may not have the time, money, or space to do every item on every earthquake preparedness list. Instead complete as many of the basics as you can, and keep a list of what you can work on in coming months.
  3. It’s all about resilience: Yes, the idea of an earthquake (or other disaster) is scary. But the more prepared you become, the less vulnerable you and your loved ones are and the easier your adaptation to difficult events will be.  
  4. It’s also about community: Some of the tasks we lay out over the next two months will entail working with (or least talking to!) your neighbors. That’s because in the event of an emergency, our greatest strength will be our ability to work together. And developing relationships with your neighbors can be helpful even if the Big One never comes.
  5. Redundancy is ok, even good! Remember, an earthquake won’t only hit when you’re at home. You may be in your car, at work, or at the grocery store. Having supplies in your car and workplace – as well as your home or apartment – means you’re just that much better prepared. (And yes, we have directions on those!)
  6. Know there are plans: The City of Alameda, the Alameda Fire Department, the Alameda Police Department, and the Alameda Unified School District all have crisis and crisis communication plans, as well as staff who have been trained to respond to a wide range of crises. In the event of an emergency, however, all four of those agencies will have their hands full. That’s why it’s important to…
  7. Be an asset, not a liability: If you’re prepared, you’ll need less aid. You’ll also be able to help others.  People who take personal responsibility in  being prepared often end up being “helpers” during a crisis.