From fires to earthquakes, Pleasant Hill residents can be prepared

PLEASANT HILL, CA (Feb. 22, 2024) — This winter has been a challenging one so far, with storms rolling through the Bay Area bringing high winds, heavy rains and power outages.

The city of Pleasant Hill prepares for events like the big rainfalls we’ve seen, as well as other potential disaster scenarios.

City employees spend time each year learning what their roles would be in the event of a wide-spread emergency situation, and how the city would operate during such.

On Jan. 17, Pleasant Hill employees took part in a “tabletop exercise” simulating a major disaster. We held the event at the Pleasant Hill Police Department, which serves as the city’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC).

Employees were faced with the scenario of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake centered in the area, with aftershocks that followed. The exercise focused on how work groups would receive necessary crisis information, determine priority of response and allocate city resources to deal with the ongoing issues.

Exercises like this help the city be ready in case the real thing happens. Residents can also take action to be prepared. The Contra Costa Fire Protection District’s website has good tips on how to mitigate risks of wildfire to your property. In addition, you can find seasonal fire safety tips at

A deeper dive

But to take a deeper dive into what you as a citizen can do to help in the event of a large-scale emergency, I’d recommend taking a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) course. Two class sessions held during the year educate the community on how to prepare for and handle a variety of scenarios.

Since its creation in 2006, Pleasant Hill CERT has trained more than 700 residents to prepare for and respond to disasters. The first class of the year is currently in progress, but you can sign up for the fall class. The dates are Sept. 10, 17, 24 and Oct. 1, 8, 15, 22, with a final exercise on Oct. 26. Classes run 6-9 p.m. Subjects taught include fire safety, disaster medical operations, disaster preparedness, and light search and rescue.

During an emergency, CERT members will first take care of their homes and families before responding to assist their neighborhood and community.

To find out more about being a part of CERT, go to

Stay connected

Another aspect of being ready in the case of an emergency is knowing where to get necessary information. The Pleasant Hill Police Department uses an app called NIXLE to provide up to the minute emergency information to the community. NIXLE users can get announcements via text message, email or via website.

Signing up for NIXLE is easy. Text your ZIP code to 888777 to be automatically subscribed for any messages affecting that zip code. Additionally, you can go to and tailor what messages you receive.

If you have friends or family in another area and want to keep abreast of any emergency messages with them, you can text that ZIP code and get their alerts as well.

Your city staff does its best to make sure we are ready in the event of an emergency and, with the right tools, you can be ready, too.

Contact Matt Rinn at