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What to Do During the Storm

Once the storm hits, there are several things you can do to stay safe.

Stay Informed

  • Register your phone with alert San Diego, the county’s reverse 9-1-1 notification system. Visit www.readysandiego.org to sign up for this free service.
  • Stay informed by following city Facebook page and city Twitter feed

On the Road

  • Check your tires before driving in a storm. Make sure your tires have enough tread and are properly inflated.
  • Never try to cross a flowing stream. Strong currents can knock you off your feet with as little as six inches of water.
  • Drive slowly and avoid flooded areas. Swiftly flowing water as shallow as 1 foot can easily sweep a car from the road.
  • Obey road barricades and signs; never "sightsee" in areas with flooding or mudslides.
  • If you are driving and advised by local authorities to evacuate, move immediately to a safe area.
  • Be alert for power lines that may have been toppled by wind or trees or broken gas lines. Report them immediately to 9-1-1.
  • When a traffic signal is not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop. 

Safe Drinking Water

Mudslides have the potential to sever or contaminate water pipes, and prolonged power outages could affect water treatment facilities. To make sure you have enough water during a severe storm:

  • Store a minimum of three gallons of emergency water per person, and plan on using one gallon per person each day.
  • If purified water is not available during an emergency, water should be boiled for one full minute. Let the water completely cool before use.
  • Periodically rotate water and food supplies per manufacturer’s instructions.

At Home

  • Place sandbags to create a small dam or wall to divert floodwater away from your home.
  • Continue to clear debris from all roof drains, gutters, downspouts and yard drains to avoid flooding.
  • Make sure you turn off your sprinklers during a severe storm.

Protect the Environment

Everything that comes into contact with rainwater has the potential to be carried downstream and harm water quality in our lagoons and oceans.

  • Properly store household hazardous materials like paint and cleaning supplies.
  • Clean up pet waste before it rains.
  • Don’t overuse fertilizers and pesticides, in general, and never use before a rain storm.
  • On trash pickup day, place collection carts two feet away from the curb.  Make sure cart lids are completely closed and remove carts as soon as possible after they are serviced.  

Power Outage Tips

  • If you see downed or broken power lines, stay clear, and do not touch them.  Immediately call  9-1-1.
  • For outage information, check the SDG&E website or call 800-411-7343.
  • Have flashlights, battery powered radios, telephones that do not depend on electricity and batteries on hand.
  • Keep devices fully charged, and consider getting a back up charger.
  • Use flashlight rather than candle for light.
  • Unplug or turn off TVs, stereos or game systems.
  • Leave one light on so you know when power is restored.
  • Minimize the opening of refrigerator and freezer doors. You want to keep in the cold air and prevent food spoilage.

Natural Gas

If you smell a natural gas odor, hear the hissing sound of gas escaping or see other signs of a leak:

  • Remain calm.
  • Don’t light a match, candle or cigarette or use spark-producing devices.
  • Don’t turn electrical appliances or lights on or off.
  • From a safe location, call SDG&E at 1-800-411-7343, 24 hours a day, seven days a week; or call 9-1-1.

Where to Get Sandbags

  • The city can provide a limited number of sandbags to residents in an emergency.
  • Find locations and instructions on how to use sandbags.
  • To report flooding call 760-931-2197. This line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • For emergencies threatening public safety, property or the environment, immediately call 9-1-1 for assistance.

How To Use Sandbags

  • Read this brochure for step by step instructions or watch this video.
  • Create a small dam or wall using sand bags to block or divert floodwater.
  • As a general rule, you will need about 10 to 25 filled bags at a minimum for each area.
  • Sandbags should be stacked similar to a brick wall, using a staggered pattern.
  • Build your wall at least two bags high.
  • Removing sand from the beach is illegal and harms the beach environment.

    Purchase sand from local nurseries and building supply companies. Filling bags with soil will not create an effective barrier. “Sandless sandbags” are also available online or at some home improvement stores.

Report Flooding

  • To report flooding, call 760-931-2197. This line is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • For emergencies threatening public safety, property or the environment, immediately call 9-1-1.

Stay or Go? 

During a severe storm, you may receive alerts from the National Weather Service about changing weather conditions in the community. If you get an alert, check the city’s website and social media channels for further instructions. You could also be asked to evacuate to a safe location or “shelter in place,” meaning stay where you are.           

Evacuation Tips

  • Monitor local media and the city and county websites for evacuation instructions. Sign up for Alert San Diego to receive information directly to your cell phone and email.
  • Officials will determine the areas to be evacuated and the routes to use. Follow their directions promptly.
  • You will be advised of potential evacuations as early as possible. You must take the initiative to stay informed and aware.
  • Listen to your radio/TV for announcements from law enforcement and emergency personnel. Local emergency radio stations are KOGO-AM 600 and KLSD-AM 1360.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes. Do not take shortcuts; they may be blocked.
  • You may be directed to temporary meeting areas to await transfer to a safe location.

Shelter in Place Tips

There may be times when local authorities recommend “sheltering in place,” which means staying put in a safe, indoor location.  Some general tips for sheltering in place during a storm include:  

  • Bring your family and pets inside.
  • Lock doors, close windows, air vents and fireplace dampers.
  • Stay away from windows.
  • Get out your emergency supply kit.
  • Check on food and water supplies. Based on the expected length of the emergency, figure out how to make them last for the duration.
  • Monitor local media and the city’s website for updates and instructions.

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