We live in earthquake country. Fortunately, Palo Alto didn’t suffer much damage during the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989. But with a major earthquake expected on the Hayward Fault, we must be prepared to help ourselves since professional services will be overwhelmed. Recognizing this, Palo Alto created the Emergency Services Volunteer Program. Both Palo Alto’s Office of Emergency Services and Palo Alto Neighborhoods (PAN) offer a variety of courses in neighborhood emergency preparedness. Residents can take these courses and volunteer as
- Block Preparedness Coordinators (BPC) — The “Eyes and Ears” of the neighborhood
- Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinators (NPC) — The liaison between the neighborhood and the emergency teams
- Community Emergency Response Team members (CERT) — Graduates of a twenty-hour course in disaster medical operations, small fire suppression and light search and rescue
- Amateur Radio Emergency Services members (ARES) — Communication resources
During a disaster, our first responders will be our trained neighbors. Block Preparedness Coordinators (BPCs) will go door-to-door to check on their neighbors. If someone needs assistance, BPCs will use their FRS radios to report to their Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinator (NPC). The NPC may send out a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) or notify the City.
Our AMNA neighborhood is divided into blocks, each headed by a BPC. The duties of BPCs include
- Building social bonds on their block
- Encouraging neighbors to prepare for emergencies
- Serving as a communication node for the neighborhood
- Assessing the block in times of emergency and reporting needs to AMNA’s NPC
The City of Palo Alto has adopted Santa Clara County’s AlertSCC system for notifying residents by telephone of emergency situations. To take advantage of the system, you must sign up and list a primary telephone number at the AlertSCC website. You can also sign up for email and SMS (text) alerts.