Emergency Preparedness Information

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Are you and your family prepared?

For a fire, an earthquake, a landslide, or a flood?

The Town of Portola Valley has created this page to help residents better prepare for a natural disaster. This helpful information and tips can save you and your family during an emergency.

Personal Responsibility

For most who live in Portola Valley, the rural feel, and connection to the natural environment top the list of desirable town features. However, this relationship to the natural environment creates significant challenges during a natural disaster. Portola Valley is relatively isolated from other communities, which means that outside emergency services will likely take a long time to arrive in a wide-scale emergency such as a wildfire or an earthquake. The number of roads is limited in comparison to a grid-style city and there are only a few ways out if an evacuation is warranted. In some neighborhoods, residents cannot see neighboring houses, reducing the ability of neighbors to check on or warn each other during an emergency. 

Because of these challenges, residents must take personal responsibility for their safety and must take the necessary steps to prepare for natural disasters.

Communication Channels

Communications will vary depending on the type and severity of a natural disaster. There is no one communication system that can be guaranteed to reach everyone during a disaster.  We urge you to employ multiple communication channels. The primary mechanism that will be used to communicate to residents in an emergency is SMC Alert. The Town will utilize messages issued by Woodside Fire Protection District (WFPD) and/or San Mateo County Sheriff's Office to relay timely emergency information.

Please note that some emergencies may occur at a very fast rate (e.g., recent wildfires in Santa Rosa), and emergency personnel may not have sufficient time to issue relevant information in a timely manner. If you feel that you should evacuate your home – don’t wait for WFPD, SMC Sheriff's Office, or Town Hall to inform you. If you think you should leave, do not wait - Evacuate!

Sign Up to Receive Emergency Alerts

Are you signed up to receive official emergency notifications? If you have not signed up or it has been a while since you last accessed your SMC Alert account, sign up today for San Mateo County’s emergency notification system.

The following is a list of different communication channels available:

  • SMC Alert (primary method of communication)
  • Town Radio (1680 AM)
  • Town Twitter (@PortolaValleyCA)
  • Town Website
  • Reverse 911 (a public notification system used to alert individuals and businesses to the risk of danger by sending a recorded voice message to landline telephones and/or cell phones within a defined geographical area.)

 Dry Vegetation
Wildfire Preparedness

Sausal Creek Flooded
Flood Preparedness

Building Deconstruction Activity
Earthquake Preparedness 


 Los Altos

Landslide Preparedness


Information to Help You Protect Yourself, Your Family, and Your Home:

The information assembled on this page is designed to provide general information to help prepare you, your family, and your property in case of a natural disaster. The information provided is not intended to be an exhaustive list. Please consult federal, state and county sources for additional information to prepare for a natural disaster.