SANTA CLARA (BCN) — Santa Clara County officials urged residents Friday to prepare for the possibility of an emergency like a wildfire or earthquake.

The county observes September as Community Preparedness Month in an effort to encourage county residents to plan for potential emergencies, including building an emergency supply kit and signing up for the county’s emergency alert system.

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County officials noted that both the frequency and severity of wildfires have increased across the state in recent years, and more than 1.7 million acres have burned in 2021 alone.

The county also sits on three fault lines, heightening the risk of a major earthquake.

“Emergency preparedness and disaster readiness require active participation from the whole community including residents, government, law enforcement, fire and EMS to respond to emergencies and rebuild after disaster strikes,” county Director of Emergency Management Dana Reed said.

County residents can visit https://emergencymanagement.sccgov.org/AlertSCC to sign up for the free alert system, which notifies residents via their cellphone, landline phone and/or email when necessary.

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Residents are also encouraged to plan ahead by mapping out multiple evacuation routes and safe meeting locations in the event they become separated.

“When community members are prepared, they are better positioned to help those around them,” Reed said.

“There are simple steps we can all take now that can save someone’s life, including our own, one day.”

Residents can find emergency preparedness information and tips at https://emergencymanagement.sccgov.org/it-takes-whole-community.

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