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Six ways to prepare if a natural disaster hits Sonoma County

Hermilla Ortega talks to a friend via phone as floodwater from the Petaluma River back up in to her home and property along Petaluma Blvd. North in Petaluma, Sunday Jan. 8, 2017. (Kent Porter / The Press Democrat) 2017

CHRISTI WARREN,

Major natural disaster threats on the North Coast include earthquakes, floods, wildfires and landslides. All of which allow for less immediate advance planning than hurricanes, which is what makes it so important that residents take preparedness seriously, officials say.

Most of the steps Sonoma County has taken to prepare for natural disasters are available for the public to explore online at sonomacounty.ca.gov/FES/Emergency-Management, including interactive maps that emergency coordinators and first responders use to show emergency shelters, assistance centers, medical care locations, dump sites and other services as they become necessary and available during disasters.

Here’s what Sonoma County emergency coordinators recommend to do now to prepare for a natural disaster:

- Sign up for SoCoAlert at socoalert.com to learn about emergencies and evacuation orders as they happen directly from first responders.

- Have an emergency evacuation plan.

- Purchase a NOAA weather radio to get alerts about storms at the same time emergency responders do.

- Practice taking cover beneath sturdy furniture and holding on in case of an earthquake, and teach children how to do it.

- Prepare an emergency supply kit with at least five days worth of food, water and medical supplies. Don’t forget about emergency pet supplies.

- Consider signing up for Community Emergency Response Team training, which teaches enrollees how to respond in emergencies. For more information on signing up, contact your local fire department.