KNOW YOUR HAZARDS | Planning for disasters

MyHazards is a tool for the general public to discover hazards in their area (earthquake, flood, fire, and tsunami) and to learn steps to reduce personal risk. Users can enter an address, city, zip code, or a map location. The map enables users to zoom and scroll to their desired view and presents information on the risks identified within the search radius, along with recommended actions. If the tool above is not loading, click here.

Types of Hazards


An earthquake is the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of subterranean rock as it releases strain that has accumulated over a long time. Initial mild shaking may strengthen and become extremely violent within seconds. Additional earthquakes, called aftershocks, may occur for hours, days, or even months. Most are smaller than the initial earthquake but larger magnitude aftershocks also occur. Earthquakes may cause deaths, injuries, and extensive property damage, in addition to fires, tsunamis, landslides or avalanches. 

What To Do During An Earthquake

If an earthquake happens, protect yourself right away. Drop, Cover, and hold on.

During an earthquake, minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place. If you are indoors, stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure it is safe to exit. 

  1. DROP to your hands and knees.

  2. COVER your head and neck with your arms. This position protects you from falling and provides some protection for vital organs. Because moving can put you in danger from the debris in your path, only move if you need to get away from the danger of falling objects. If you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table. If there is low furniture, or an interior wall or corner nearby and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover. Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as lighting fixtures or furniture.

  3. HOLD ON to any sturdy shelter until the shaking stops.

  4. DO NOT run outside! STAY where you are until the shaking stops. DO NOT get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects and you likely will not be able to remain standing.

Additional Resources


A tsunami is a series of enormous ocean waves caused by earthquakes, underwater landslides, volcanic eruptions, or asteroids. Tsunamis can travel 20–30 miles per hour with waves 10–100 feet high. Tsunamis can cause flooding and create problems with transportation, power, communications, and drinking water. A tsunami can kill or injure people and damage or destroy buildings and infrastructure as waves come in and go out

What To Do During a Tsunami

If you are under a Tsunami Warning:

1. If a tsunami is caused by an earthquake, DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON, to protect yourself from the earthquake first. If a tsunami is caused by a large local earthquake, there may not be time for officials to issue a Tsunami Warning. You should evacuate to high ground if:

  • You are in a tsunami hazard zone;
  • You feel an earthquake lasting approximately 20 seconds or longer;
  • The ocean water begins moving far out exposing the sea floor;
  • You hear an unusually loud roar from the coast.

If you are in a tsunami hazard zone and observe any of the above natural warnings, move to higher ground or inland as soon as it is safe to do so. There may be as little as 10 minutes between the earthquake and tsunami. 

2.  DO NOT WAIT! If you are in a tsunami hazard zone, get to high ground as far inland as possible. If evacuating due to a local source tsunami, go by foot if possible. An earthquake may damage roads and bridges and heavy traffic may cause gridlock and limit your access to a safe area. If you are in a boat, go out to sea.

3. Listen to emergency information and alerts. 

4. Avoid wading in floodwater and stay away from damaged buildings, roads, and bridges. 

Additional Resources


Wildfires are unplanned fires that burn in natural areas like forests, grasslands or prairies. These dangerous fires spread quickly and can devastate not only wildfire and natural areas, but also communities. As catastrophic wildfires continue to increase each year in California, make sure to protect yourself and your family – plan, prepare and stay aware.

Ready, Set, Go!

  1. Be Ready: Create and maintain defensible space and harden your home against flying embers.

  2. Get SetPrepare your family and home ahead of time for the possibility of having to evacuate. Ensure you have a plan of what to take and where to go
  3. Go: When wildfire strikes, go early for your safety. Take the evacuation steps necessary to give your family and home the best chance of surviving a wildfire.

What To Do During A Wildfire

When immediate evacuation is necessary, follow these steps as soon as possible to get ready to GO!

  1. Review your Evacuation Plan Checklist.
  2. Ensure your Emergency Supply Kit/Evacuation Bag is in your vehicle.
  3. Listen to emergency alerts and directions.
  4. Cover-up to protect against heat and flying embers. Wear long pants, long sleeve shirt, heavy shoes/boots, cap, dry bandanna for face cover, goggles or glasses. 100% cotton is preferable.
  5. Locate your pets and take them with you.

Additional Resources


Flooding is a temporary overflow of water onto land that is normally dry. Floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States. In Humboldt County, flooding most commonly happens in the winter months December - March. However, local coastal flooding happens much more frequently throughout the year. Failing to evacuate flooded areas or entering flood waters can lead to injury or death.

Floods may:

  • Result from rain, snow, coastal storms, storm surges and overflows of dams and other water systems.
  • Develop slowly or quickly. Flash floods can come with no warning.
  • Cause outages, disrupt transportation, damage buildings and create landslides.

What To Do During A Flood

  1. Find safe shelter right away.
  2. Do not walk, swim or drive through flood waters. Turn Around, Don’t Drown!
  3. Remember, just six inches of moving water can knock you down, and one foot of moving water can sweep your vehicle away.
  4. Stay off bridges over fast-moving water.
  5. Stay inside in your if it is trapped in rapidly moving water. Get on the roof if water is rising inside the car.
  6. Get to the highest level if trapped in a building. Only get on the roof if necessary and once there signal for help. Do not climb into a closed attic to avoid getting trapped by rising floodwater.

Depending on the type of flooding:

  • Evacuate if told to do so.
  • Move to higher ground or a higher floor.
  • Stay where you are.

Additional Resources

Severe Weather

Severe weather can happen anytime, in any part of the country. Severe weather can include hazardous conditions produced by thunderstorms, including damaging winds, tornadoes, large hail, flooding and flash flooding, and winter storms associated with freezing rain, sleet, snow and strong winds.

What To Do During Severe Weather

When Power Outages are Expected:

  • Fully charge mobile devices.
  • Practice opening and closing your garage door manually.
  • Fill your car with gas.
  • Keep cash on hand.

During a Power Outage:

  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and electronics.
  • Go to a community location with power when heat or cold is extreme.
  • Have a generator? Follow safety instructions and use only as needed to save fuel.
  • Learn more at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.

During Flood Events:

  • Evacuate immediately if told to by authorities.
  • Do not walk, swim, or drive through flood waters.

Additional Resources

Extreme Heat

Extreme heat is a period of high heat and humidity with temperatures above 90 degrees for at least two to three days. In extreme heat your body works extra hard to maintain a normal temperature, which can lead to death. In fact, extreme heat is responsible for the highest number of annual deaths among all weather-related hazards.


  • Extreme heat can occur quickly and without warning.
  • Older adults, children and sick or overweight individuals are at greater risk from extreme heat.
  • Humidity increases the feeling of heat as measured by a heat index.

What To Do During Extreme Heat

If you are under an extreme heat warning:

  • Find air conditioning.
  • Avoid strenuous activities.
  • Wear light clothing.
  • Check on family members and neighbors.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Watch for heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
  • Never leave people or pets in a closed car.

Know the signs of heat-related illnesses and ways to respond. 


  • Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs
  • Actions: Go to a cooler location. Remove excess clothing. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. If you are sick and need medical attention, call your healthcare provider first. Follow your healthcare provider’s instructions about whether you should go to the hospital or cooler location yourself, as you may be putting others or yourself in greater risk for contracting COVID-19. If cramps last more than an hour, seek medical attention. If possible, put on a mask before medical help arrives.


  • Signs: Heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea, vomiting
  • Actions: Go to an air-conditioned place and lie down. Loosen or remove clothing. Take a cool bath. Take sips of cool sports drinks with salt and sugar. Call your healthcare provider if symptoms get worse or last more than an hour.


  • Signs: Extremely high body temperature (above 103 degrees) taken orally. Red, hot and dry skin with no sweat. Rapid, strong pulse. Dizziness, confusion or unconsciousness
  • Actions: Call 9-1-1 or get the person to a hospital immediately. Cool down with whatever methods are available until medical help arrives.

Additional Resources

Slope Failure

Landslides, mudflow, debris flow, and rockfall are collectively known as slope failure,

What is a Landslide?

In a landslide, masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope. Landslides can be caused by many factors including earthquakes, storms, fire and human modification of land.

What is a Debris/Mud Flow?

Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth and other debris saturated with water. They develop during intense rainfall, runoff, or rapid snowmelt, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds (faster than a person can run). They also can travel many miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars and other materials. Debris flows don’t always stay in stream channels and they can flow sideways as well as downhill.

When a wildfire burns a slope, it increases the chance of debris flows for several years. Although some landslides require lengthy rain and saturated slopes, a debris flow can start on a dry slope after only a few minutes of intense rain. “Intense” rain means a burst of rain at a fast rate, about half an inch in an hour. With debris flows, the rate matters more than total rainfall.

What To Do During a Slope Failure

Recognize Warning Signs:

Watch for debris flows and other fast moving landslides that pose threats to life:

  • If you are near a wildfire burn area, sign up for emergency alerts and pay attention to weather forecasts for the burn area. The weather in the burn area could be very different from where you are.
  • Listen and watch for rushing water, mud, unusual sounds.
  • Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.
  • A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.
  • Fences, retaining walls, utility poles, k-rails, boulders, or trees move.
  • Huge boulders in the landscape can be signs of past debris flows.

During a Landslide:

  • Heed all warnings and evacuation notices.
  • During a storm that could cause a landslide, stay alert and awake.
  • Never cross a road with water or mud flowing. Never cross a bridge if you see a flow approaching. It can grow faster and larger too quickly for you to escape.
  • If you do get stuck in the path of a landslide move uphill as quickly as possible.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow or water that changes from clear to muddy. These can be signs that a landslide is coming.
  • Stay away from the slide area. Monitor road information regarding landslides impacting major highways.

Additional Resources

Public Safety Power Shutoff (PSPS)

In order to keep communities safe, your local energy company may need to turn off power during extreme weather or wildfire conditions. This is called a Public Safety Power Shutoff. Your energy company makes the decision to turn off power by monitoring local fire danger conditions across California and taking into consideration a combination of weather and environmental factors. For more information on the factors used to determine PSPS events, visit

What To Do During a PSPS

If a Public Safety Power Shutoff is needed due to extreme weather conditions, you can expect:

Early Warning Notification – Your energy company will aim to send customer alerts before shutting off power.

Ongoing Updates – Your energy company will provide ongoing updates through social media, local news outlets and their website.

Safety Inspections – After extreme weather has passed, your energy company will inspect the lines in affected areas before power is safely restored.

Power Restoration – Power outages could last multiple days depending on the severity of the weather and other factors. It is important that you and your family have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

When a PSPS is Expected:

  • Fully charge mobile devices
  • Practice opening and closing your garage door manually
  • Fill your car with gas
  • Keep cash on hand
  • Keep refrigerators and freezers closed
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and electronics
  • Go to a community location with power when heat or cold is extreme.
  • Have a generator? Follow safety instructions and use only as needed to save fuel.
  • Learn more at PG&E’s Safety Action Center.

Additional Resources


A pandemic is a disease outbreak that spans several countries and affects a large number of people. Pandemics are most often caused by viruses, like Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), which can easily spread from person to person.

A new virus, like COVID-19, can emerge from anywhere and quickly spread around the world. It is hard to predict when or where the next new pandemic will emerge.

Click here for more information about Humboldt County's response to COVID-19.

What To Do During a Pandemic

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and try not to touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Keep a distance of at least six feet between yourself and people who are not part of your household.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a mask when in public.
  • Clean and disinfect high-touch objects and surfaces.
  • Stay at home as much as possible to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Follow the guidance of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Additional Resources

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