Emergency Preparedness in Truckee

Much of the world seems in crisis, and emergency preparedness is a Lifestyle Solution that you all need to undertake. Natural Disasters such as Earthquakes, tornados, cyclones, monsoons, hurricanes, or tsunamis seem to be a current daily occurrence.

Truckee has a few earthquakes in its history, (a 5.9 in 1966, and a 4.7 in 2008), and actually has an "F" Earthquake Risk Rating, according to Home Facts. The United States Geological Survey (USGS) database, shows that there is a 96.053% chance of a major earthquake within 31 miles of Truckee, within the next 50 years.

Truckee is very close to Lake Tahoe which has three faults down the middle of the Lake, The West Tahoe - Dollar Point Fault, the Stateline - North Tahoe Fault, and the Incline Village Fault. These faults are capable of a magnitude 7.0 earthquake, and predictions are that it would cause a 10 to 33 feet Tsunamis, capable of traversing the lake in just a few minutes!

Forest Fire - Tips for Emergency Preparedness

Truckee and the Lake Tahoe area, also faces the risk of forest fires. Winter driving in Truckee carries it's own risks, and I always carried a Car Emergency Kit in my car. Flooding occurred in 1996, when we got about six feet of snow in two days, and then rain for days which melted all the snow. The second floor of my house actually flooded during this time, as my builder had not properly sealed my sliding glass door to my deck.

Photo Courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management

Truckee Emergency Services

The following information links to the Truckee Emergency Departments and Related Info:

  • Emergency Number = 911
  • Truckee Animal Control
  • Truckee Fire Protection District
  • Truckee Police Department
  • Truckee Ranger District

Tsunami Warning Sign


The need for an emergency food supply and an emergency preparedness plan, is a real need for many of you. Are you and your family prepared for an emergency? Could you provide food and water for your family for up to two weeks if you had to? This is the recommendation from FEMA. Many of you could not!

Living through a disaster is something that will change the way you think, and how you view the world. It is traumatic whether you are prepared or not. Emergency Preparedness can go a long way to lessen trauma, and should be the goal of every family that lives in an area faced with the possibility of a natural disaster. Actually, I believe that a crisis of some sort could hit almost anyone, and emergency preparedness should be the goal of every family!

Photo Credit: Marilou Straker


My Story:

In the 1994 Chatsworth CA earthquake, my family lived 5 miles from the epicenter of the earthquake. Very close! My kids were 8 and 5 years old, and we started the earthquake out wrong. My husband and I ran blindly down our hallway, actually the walls were moving so much we bounced from wall to wall, to get to our kids. My husband is a native Californian, so he was joking around about riding the waves. I was freaking out! I had never been in a large earthquake.

I had no idea of the power that the earth could unleash! We gathered our kids in the bottom of a bunk bed to wait out the shaking. We were lucky that the direction of the movement of our house, did not cause most of our furniture to fall, or we could have been hurt crossing their rooms in the dark. We ran barefoot over glass but were not cut, luckily. We huddled and could not hear each other because of the noise from the earthquake. It sounded like a train or jet was about to hit our house. It was so loud.

The shaking stopped, but we did not for a long time, weeks really because aftershocks continued for months. When my husband ventured out of the bunk, it was pitch dark, except for the electrical lines that were lighting up the sky. I had no glasses, so I was blind. He got shoes on and went downstairs. Everything breakable that we owned was broken. All kitchen cupboards had emptied to the floor, furniture was toppled, and the refrigerator was sideways and emptied. The story gets better from here!

I was prepared! I knew what to do! We had an emergency preparedness plan! Immediately we filled our two bathtubs and a kiddie pool with water. We filled every utensil with water. We did this before ruptured water lines brought contaminated water. We later used this water to flush our toilets. I had bins of canned foods and water in our garage, enough for several weeks. We had a camping stove that used cans of gas. We had food and water! This was huge, because we were all traumatized beyond description.

Houses in our area were off their foundations, split in half, red-tagged, and badly damaged. Our home had many cracks. But we had food and water! We could face the emergency head on, because we would not be hungry or thirsty. Within 30 minutes of the disaster, my husband brought me a hot cup of coffee. Life would be okay! We had coffee and could survive! He said I should not come downstairs because all of my beautiful European treasures lie in ruins. I thought, "I do not care about things anymore, my family is safe, and that is all that matters". I feel that way to this day. Stuff does not matter. My life view had changed for good over the course of 5 minutes. My family had survived!

The Northridge earthquake was a 6.8 magnitude earthquake, and a shallow earthquake, so there was much damage. The first night we joined half of Simi Valley in a local park that had no trees. Everyone was too afraid to sleep in their homes. My kids thought it was a vacation. I knew it was not! We were there to be safe from all of the aftershocks, which continued for months. It was an eerie experience to lie on ground that was moving. We did not sleep much!

We had no water in our home for more than a week, but within two days our city had set up pick up points, where people could pick up a gallon, or two of water per day. It was amazing how quickly they mobilized. Neighbors helped neighbors. Many neighborhoods had big block parties to cook everyone’s meat products before they spoiled. I heard many wonderful stories of people helping others. Emergencies bring out the best in people is what I learned!

Stores partially opened within a few days. I visited our local store the first day it opened, and two aftershocks hit within 3 minutes. One when I was paying. I was able to look up and see the entire roof moving at least 3 feet back and forth. I thought I might be a goner, and that the roof might collapse. The second one hit as I was trying to walk to my car. There were 8 to 12 inch waves moving across the parking lot. I have never seen anything like that. Cement coming in waves. People were just holding onto cars to keep from falling. I was able to see massive amounts of dust rising from the mountains as I am sure they lost height. Actually, it was a very cool event. None of us had seen the original earthquake because of the darkness. We had heard the noise, but had not seen what earthquakes do.

In our area many road and overpasses were damaged with huge chunks missing. You kind of had to relearn which roads were passable. Luckily the freeways were the first to be fixed. I was glad that the earthquake happened in the early morning when everyone was home. My family was together, and we did not have to venture out.

We actually coped fairly well because we were prepared. We knew that living in the L.A. area where earthquakes were a possibility, required a family emergency preparedness plan! Many people were traumatized. I heard of friends that slept in their cars for months, or moved to other states. We slept with the light on in our hallway for more than a year from fear. Our kids slept in our bedroom for weeks.

We all became familiar with the underside of our kitchen table because of the duck and cover routine that went on for months. Many parents camped out in the parking lots in schools during the daytime, because they did not want to be separated from their kids. It was difficult to be separated from the people you loved.

The earthquake was the reason I ended up in Washington. My husband worked for a company that was located in Chatsworth, directly on top of the fault. They lost millions of dollars of equipment. They decided to move to their second plant in Redmond. So for me, the earthquake brought a move to a new state where the threat of an even larger earthquake looms on the horizon!

One thing that will never change, is the knowledge that emergency preparedness, is a must for those of you that live in a crisis zone, or area at risk of a natural disaster. The trauma is so great that you can’t face it without food and water.

For Emergency Preparedness, you need to know about:


  • Emergency Food Supply: The pros and cons of making your own emergency kit, or buying a Ready made emergency kit. I recommend a combination of both!

Emergency Supplies and Food


  • Preparing an emergency water supply

  • Safe water supplies in your home

  • Treating Water in your Home


Emergency food and water preparation are healthy diet habits that every family needs to develop. It may seem like an added expense that you can’t afford at this time. Change your thinking! You can’t afford not to be prepared!

When disaster strikes, and your kids are looking to you for a semblance of order, you need to be able to reassure them that all will be well, because you have your "emergency supplies" ready to go! There is a nice meal on the way and you have a way to cook that meal! They understand that, and it will comfort them.

Take the time to prepare now! Your life and your family's life may depend on it!

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