Households wanting to come out safe and sound in the aftermath of a severe storm in this winter of El Nino should take four significant steps: register for email or text-message or cellphone alerts, clear your property of potential hazards, prepare to evacuate if it comes to that, and make an evacuation plan, according to several local sources on how to deal with community emergencies.
Register for alerts
Signing up for alerts can depend on your location.
■ Anyone in San Mateo County can register for alerts via email, voice mail, cellphone and tablet computer at ==Bsmcalert.info==.
■ At ==Bthis link==, Woodside residents can register cellphones and other devices to an emergency notification service system set up to send notifications to listed land-line phones.
■ At this link, Atherton residents have a menu of alerts to choose from.
■ Go to this link if you live in Menlo Park and have not already registered for alerts.
■ Portola Valley has an emergency notification system that requires registration for any device other than a listed land-line, and further recommends that residents register for the San Mateo County alerts.
Leaving home, or not
Potential hazards on your property can include dead or dying trees, large dead branches, and swales or ditches or gutters or drains that have not been cleared of debris and made ready to swiftly transport storm-water runoff.
In preparing to evacuate, or to live off the grid for a while if that becomes necessary, it's hard to beat the website of the Citizens Emergency Response Preparedness Program, which serves the residents of the Woodside Fire Protection District.
At cerpp.org/prepare are links to preparing kits for home and vehicle, sheltering in place, caring for people with special needs, and ensuring adequate supplies of food and water. Elsewhere on the CERPP website are links to caring for domestic animals and dealing with landslides.
Evacuation itself can be a touch-and-go kind of situation, experts say. You may have just moments to safely run from life as you have known it, including all the mementos you've accumulated. Or you may have time to walk away.
At http://www.cerpp.org/prepare cerpp.org/prepare, the evacuation link leads to information on why you should talk ahead of time about evacuation and the alternative of sheltering in place, what to do with pets, and how to prepare to evacuate under two scenarios: departing immediately and preparing your home for a somewhat delayed departure.