Disasters can come out of nowhere, suddenly change course, and accelerate with unexpected ferocity.

The antidote? Preparedness.

Because September has been designated National Preparedness Month, the City of Dublin is urging residents to prepare themselves and their families for any disaster.

The goal of disaster preparedness is twofold: to survive an event, and to ensure a timely return to stability following an event. Preparation both informs and empowers people during what is normally an extremely chaotic period.

The first step in developing an emergency response plan involves the identification of potential emergency scenarios. In the Tri-Valley, risks include fires, earthquakes, winter flooding, and a half a dozen other crises that seem too far out – but aren’t, for example, active shooters, explosions or missing persons. It’s also important to assess who will need the plan: family members, pets, caregivers, etc.

The second step requires residents to sign up for alerts.

The City of Dublin has partnered with Alameda County on a new emergency notification system, "AC Alert," powered by EverBridge. An ultra high-speed telephonic communication service is used for emergency notifications. The service allows phones in all or targeted areas of the City to be notified when an emergency situation requires immediate action, such as an evacuation or boil-water notice.

Other emergency incidents where rapid, accurate notification is essential for life safety involve Nixle Alerts. Dublin Police Services has partnered with Nixle, an emergency notification system, to alert residents during emergencies, road closures, or other health or safety issues. Simply text "Dublin" or the City's zip code (94568) to 888777 to receive free alerts, or visit www.nixle.com and sign up to receive updates via e-mail. After registering, residents will also receive alerts from nearby agencies, such as the Alameda County Fire Department, who also partner with Nixle.

To take the next step, a Go Kit must be created.

Homes, cars, and every member of a household should have a Go Kit – an emergency preparedness kit that includes food, water, tools, medications and medical supplies for a minimum of 3-5 days following a major disaster.

Furthering their mission to help residents be prepared, the City of Dublin is seeking citizens who are willing to serve as volunteers, ready to respond whenever disaster strikes.

The Disaster Service Volunteer (DSV) program was created to identify emergency-response volunteers and to enlist their skills and training. During catastrophic events – such as earthquakes, fires, severe storms, flash floods, and landslides – DSVs will be contacted based on their abilities and the needs of the community. Possible tasks involve care and shelter, search and rescue, safety assessment, Emergency Volunteer Center staffing, and clerical or administrative support. Disaster Service Volunteers must be Dublin residents, at least 18 years old, in good health, and have transportation.

To sign up, learn more, or download an emergency plan worksheet, visit www.dublin.ca.gov/94/Disaster-Preparedness.