A new tool will help residents across San Diego County learn the potential hazards they may face in locations they frequent.
The "Know Your Hazard" tool, developed by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services, lets residents enter the address of an important place for them, like their home or work address, and learn about the possible hazards in the area.
Then, the tool makes suggestions for how residents can improve their preparedness in the case of an emergency.
“This is an innovative approach to getting ahead of emergencies, and the timing couldn’t be better, as we move into peak wildfire season,” said Chairwoman Dianne Jacob, San Diego County Board of Supervisors.
Many times, Holly Crawford, San Diego County Office of Emergency Services Director said, there are simple actions people can take to prepare.
"The emergencies that you can face at your home, you may have less than 15 minutes to evacuate," Crawford said.
Even if the location is not in a noted risk area, that does not mean that disaster will not occur in the area.
"There are numerous factors that go into determining that data but it doesn’t mean you’re completely immune to these hazards if you’re outside of that zone," Crawford said. "(The map) is simply an indicator of the probability of that disaster occurring."
The app focuses on wildfire, flooding, earthquake and tsunami hazard preparedness.
"Wildfires have hit the region hard, but we’re also vulnerable to many other threats," Jacob said. "Flooding, earthquakes or even a tsunami can do just as much damage and anything we can do to prepare our homes and families in advance makes a really big difference."
California is already seeing historic levels of wildfire activity, said County Fire Authority and Cal Fire San Diego Unit Chief Tony Mecham said.
"We need to prepare before the wildfire gets there," Mecham said. Though Cal Fire and County Fire officials have increased staffing, first responders make up only one percent of the people in San Diego.
Residents need to do what they can to prepare for fires and other dangers, Mecham said.
Another important part of the service is signing up for AlertSanDiego. Once San Diegans sign up, they can receive emergency alerts on their cell phones. Anyone who signs up before Aug. 14 will receive a coupon for a free Rubio's taco.