Make sure you’re prepared for the next natural disaster > United States Coast Guard > My Coast Guard News

“Be ready!” “Get on!” “Go!” Terms commonly used enthusiastically at the start of a race, or at the start of a friendly competition. Even if for some, it’s a second-hand model that can possibly save your life. Wildfires and other natural disasters pose a very realistic threat to the lives, property, and military readiness of Coast Guard members and their families stationed around the world, and particularly in California.

“After being evacuated for the first time in 2017 and having had no experience evacuating in the event of a wildfire, I knew I had to prepare my family for the next one,” said Chief Petty Officer Alexander Isayev, Marine Inspector, San Francisco Coast Guard Sector. . “I knew this would inevitably happen in the near future.”

September is National Preparedness Month, are you ready to respond in the event of a natural disaster?

Forest fires

California wildfires typically burn hundreds of thousands of acres each year. During the 2020 wildfire season, the 11th Coast Guard District responded to historic Northern California wildfires and provided accountability to more than 5,000 Coast Guard members and their families. During the following wildfire season in California, 168 Coast Guard personnel were evacuated.

Be ready: Familiarize yourself with the wildfire risks where you live, work and play. Understand terminology associated with wildfire threats and evacuation orders. Familiarize yourself with escape routes and best practices for your community. Be aware of the US Coast Guard’s evacuation policy and programs that can help financially.

Put on: Prepare your family and your home for the possibility of having to evacuate. Getting Prepared requires three main actions to prepare your family for safety: creating a wildfire action plan, assembling emergency supply kits, and developing a family communication plan.

Go: Evacuate now! Know your area’s standard terminology for natural disaster evacuation orders. Members and their families should familiarize themselves with each command and their differences.

Isayev has designed a quick reference guide that includes various emergency response plans. It is user-friendly and all information related to the specific emergency is easily accessible via labeled tabs. These tabs include information for a human emergency, pet emergency, evacuation orders, and MISC. The tabbed sections are very simple, they contain all the relevant contact information, addresses and routing information. Human Emergencies includes nearby hospital locations and contact information. Pet Emergencies lists all veterinary clinics, their addresses, hours of operation, and the emergency services they provide. The evacuation tab contains routes, military bases to go to, addresses of acceptable hotels in all directions of travel, hotel addresses and phone numbers. Grocery store locations, with their contact details are also included

The MISC section includes phone numbers for national emergency services like FEMA, Red Cross, etc.


According to the US Geological Survey, earthquakes can strike anywhere at any time, but historically occur in the same general patterns year after year, primarily in the following three major areas of the earth:

  • The largest seismic belt in the world, the Circum-Pacific Seismic Belt, located along the edge of the Pacific Ocean, where about 81% of the largest earthquakes on our planet occur. It earned the nickname “Ring of Fire”.
  • The Alpide seismic belt extends from Java to Sumatra via the Himalayas, the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. This belt accounts for about 17% of the world’s largest earthquakes, including some of the most destructive, such as the 2005 M7.6 shock in Pakistan that killed more than 80,000 people and the 2004 M9.1 earthquake. in Indonesia, which generated a tsunami that killed more than 230,000 people.
  • The prominent third belt follows the submerged Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Most of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is deep under water and far from human development, but Iceland, which sits directly above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, has experienced earthquakes as large as at least M6.9.

In addition to shaking caused by earthquakes, other phenomena can occur, such as landslides, ruptures of surface faults and liquefaction, all of which can cause injury or property damage. Take note of where you live, read earthquake news, and contact your city or county government for details on how to prepare where you live.


Flooding is one of the most common hazards in the United States. Be aware of flood risks no matter where you live, but especially if you live in a low-lying area, near water, or below a dam. Even very small streams, ravines, creeks, culverts, dry stream beds, or low lying areas that seem harmless in dry weather can be flooded. Every state is exposed to this danger.

emergency kit

Prepare for any natural disaster by having a basic emergency supply kit. This could include the following recommended items:

  • Water (one gallon per person per day for several days, for drinking and sanitation)
  • Food (at least a multi-day supply of non-perishable food)
  • Battery or Crank Radio and NOAA Weather Radio Tone Alert
  • Flash light
  • First aid kit
  • Extra batteries
  • Whistle (to call for help)
  • Dust mask (to help filter contaminated air)
  • Sheets of plastic and tape (to shelter in place)
  • Wet wipes, garbage bags and plastic ties (for personal hygiene)
  • Wrench or pliers (to turn off utilities)
  • Manual can opener (for food)
  • Local maps
  • Mobile phone with chargers and backup battery

“We should all be inspired by Chief Isayev’s efforts to prepare his family by reviewing escape routes from home, talking with your family about emergencies and doing emergency drills at home,” the captain said. Tim Lavier, commander of District 11 Planning. and force readiness. “It’s time to prepare yourself and your family – Semper Paratus!”

Additional Resources:

  • my dangers – discover hazards in your area, view hazard data and interactive map, as well as hazard mitigation tools and information
  • Ready for the forest fire – find preparedness toolkits and prevention information
  • FEMA – find disaster assistance, flood maps, emergency management
  • Red Cross Download the Emergency app, get safety tips and emergency training resources