Preparing for Specific Hazards

The first step in preparing for an event is to assess your risk. For example, do you live or work near a freeway, railroad or pipeline where hazardous materials are transported? Do you live near open space? Is your home near the shoreline? Some of the hazards we should prepare for include:

Terrorism

Should another terrorist act occur, there is no better-prepared place to be than California. For more than 25 years, state and local government agencies have been preparing for these types of events to ensure the safety and security of the general public.

Preparing for terrorism involves the same steps as planning for other disasters. Please visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website.

The San Diego County Sheriff's Department also offers a variety of topics covering the threat of terrorism here.

Wildfires

Because of dry conditions and below normal precipitation, wildfires are an ever-present danger in our community. Older residential neighborhoods bordering canyons or near slopes with moderate to heavy brush are at the greatest risk. In 1996, the Harmony Grove Fire swept through the communities of Elfin Forest, Rancho Santa Fe, Carlsbad and Encinitas, destroying dozens of homes. Fortunately, there are many things you can do to protect your family and property from wildfires. Please click here for information on what you can do.

Severe Storms and Flooding

In Encinitas, severe weather events occur in greater frequency than other natural disasters, making storm preparedness a priority. As recently as 1998, severe winter storms resulted in heavy property damage along the coastline and flooding along Escondido Creek. On March 27, 2002, Encinitas became the first San Diego County community and only the second community in the state to be declared “Storm Ready” by the National Weather Service. The Storm Ready program encourages communities to establish programs that help residents be better prepared to handle weather-related events or disasters in the future.

Click here for local resources and information on winter storm and flood readiness.

Up-to-date weather forecasts and safety advisories are available on the National Weather Service's San Diego forecast office website.

Dam Failure

A failure of Wohlford Dam in Escondido would produce flooding around Escondido Creek approximately two hours after the dam’s failure.

Earthquakes

There are two known faults that could produce earthquakes capable of causing major damage in Encinitas. The first is the Rose Canyon fault, which begins in the ocean and comes ashore near La Jolla, extending south through Rose Canyon in San Diego. The second is the Elsinore fault, which runs near Interstate 15 and the San Diego County line, through Warner Springs and continues southeast to the Mexican border. Both of these faults are capable of producing major earthquakes of 7.2 to 7.6 on the Richter scale—about the same intensity as the Loma Prieta quake in 1989 and Northridge quake in 1994.

Earthquakes can be particularly destructive in areas where liquefaction occurs, such as near lagoons and creeks. This is because loose, soft soils tend to amplify ground motion, thereby increasing damage. See here for how to respond in an earthquake and watch the video below.

Tsunamis

A tsunami is a series of long-period sea waves produced by a submarine earthquake or volcanic eruption. To date, tsunami damage in San Diego County has been limited to coastal harbors. However, a catastrophic earthquake in Chile in 1960 generated one of the greatest tsunamis of modern times, causing loss of property and life across the Pacific. Tsunami warnings are issued to the public when a danger exists. The tsunami warning system does not issue false alarms. During a tsunami emergency, Sheriff’s, Fire, Marine Safety and other emergency personnel will do everything possible to evacuate the shoreline and prevent the loss of life. Give them your fullest cooperation and follow all their directions. Low-lying areas in Encinitas, such as Moonlight Beach and “Restaurant Row” in Cardiff, can be potentially impacted by tsunamis. Click here to view tsunami evacuation routes in the City of Encinitas.

Chemical Emergencies

During a toxic chemical release, you may be told to “Shelter–in-Place.” This means to stay inside a building or vehicle (wherever you are) and seal it off from the outside air. You can view important safety information about chemical emergencies prepared by the CDC here.

Electrical Outages

Do you remember the biggest blackout in U.S. history? In 2003, a widespread power outage struck the Northeast leaving more than 50 million people without electricity. Not to mention the Southwest blackout we experienced here in 2011, which affected over seven million people. Power outages can happen anytime, so preparation is important. Since the length of an outage can vary from a few hours to several days, you should plan to get by without utilities for at least three days. In addition to having a family emergency communications plan and disaster supply kit,

The Ready Campaign offers tips to prepare for a power outage:

  • Keep your car gas tank at least half full. Gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps;
  • Fill plastic containers with water and freeze them. These items will help food stay cold during the outage; and
  • Keep a set of house keys with you if you normally use your garage to enter your home in case the garage door does not work.

Your response during the blackout can also impact your safety. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Only use flashlights for lighting. Never use candles;
  • Do not run a generator inside your home or garage; and
  • Keep your refrigerator and freezer doors closed so your food stays as fresh as possible.


To check the status of Stage III rolling blackouts (load curtailments), please visit San Diego Gas and Electric’s website.