The strong earthquake that rumbled through Napa late last month ‒ as well as the approach of an end-of-summer fire season stoked by drought ‒ remind us all that it’s time to get serious about emergency preparedness.
That’s why Alameda County is unveiling a new emergency preparedness website this week that’s designed to help us overcome the indecision and take action. The mobile-friendly website called READY.ACGOV.ORG is a breakthrough in the way it provides an easy-to-follow, step-by-step process to help anyone prepare for the next major emergency.
“We believe we have come up with a great new tool with the potential of greatly improving the level of safety in our community,’’ said Tim Dupuis, Chief Information Officer for Alameda County.
READY.ACGOV.ORG is the place to go for local residents looking to get a leg up on preparing for the next big earthquake, fire or other natural or man-made disaster.
The website works with all computer operating systems and on web and mobile platforms. It also comes with an interesting back story involving a group of tech-savvy local youth that was instrumental in its creation.
Emergency preparedness has long been a priority for County leaders dogged by memories of disasters such as the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and Oakland hills firestorm in 1991. The preparedness message also resonates with the public ‒ a point made clear in May when a mobile app focusing on emergency preparedness won top prize at a County-sponsored community hackathon.
The winning app – and the fact that youth are consistently among the strongest entrants in County-sponsored hackathons ‒ led Alameda County to tap young local talent for help in designing the emergency preparedness website.
“We continue to see young people in our communities being extremely creative in using the latest technologies to communicate and get their messages out,’’ said Susan S. Muranishi, Alameda County Administrator.
Thanks to a County Student Internship Program this summer, a small group of talented local high school and college students was available to work with County IT staff in building the site.
“It’s been an unbelievable experience,’’ said Justin Liu, 18, a 2014 graduate of Castro Valley High School who spearheaded the project. “I was given a lot of responsibility and the opportunity to work on something that I think can really make a difference in helping people stay safe.’’
READY.ACGOV.ORG features information about local resources, ways neighborhoods can take collective steps toward emergency preparedness – and even what emergency supplies to keep on hand for your pets.
The site’s user-friendly approach features numerous checklists to keep residents on track in their preparedness projects. This approach aims to cut through the blizzard of information, often from multiple sources, that can overwhelm a person investigating how to get ready.
“I am hopeful this great new resource will activate our residents so that they will join us in making sure all sectors of our community are ready when the next disaster strikes,’’ said Keith Carson, President of the Alameda County Board of Supervisors.