Trick or Treat: Don’t be Unprepared for These 5 Scary Disasters

Walking up to a stranger’s door and shouting “trick or treat!” is a timeless Halloween tradition. The art of dressing in costume, grabbing an empty bag and filling it up with candy is seemingly harmless fun for all ages. Yet, the concept itself should create heightened awareness for parents, especially if any suspicious behavior is present.

Here are some safety tips for children and adults to remember for Halloween:

  • Always go trick-or-treating with a responsible adult.
  • If driving, be sure to watch for trick-or-treaters who are too busy to watch for you.
  • Children should carry flashlights or glow sticks for lighting and visibility.
  • Closely inspect all candy before allowing children to eat it. Discard any unwrapped treats from a stranger.

As much as certain holiday traditions require additional attention from parents, Halloween offers another opportunity to remind Californians of the importance of being prepared and having a plan ready for more serious – and possibly life-threatening – scenarios, such as natural disasters and other emergencies.

While sitting down tonight to enjoy a piece of candy – or two, or three – here are some helpful tips on how to prepare for five frightful disasters in California:


  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.

For more flood tips, click here.


  • Avoid over watering your lawn and water only when needed
  • A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
  • If your lawn does require watering, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

For more drought tips, click here.


  • Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
  • Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
  • Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
  • Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.

For more wildfire tips, click here.


  • Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them.
  • Create a disaster-preparedness plan.
  • Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them.
  • Protect yourself during earthquake shaking.

For more earthquake tips, click here.


  • During any storm, listen to local news to stay informed about tornado watches and warnings.
  • Pick a safe room in your home where household members and pets may gather during a tornado. This should be a basement, storm cellar or an interior room on the lowest floor with no windows.
  • Practice periodic tornado drills so that everyone knows what to do if a tornado is approaching.
  • Move or secure lawn furniture, trash cans, hanging plants or anything else that can be picked up by the wind and become a projectile.

For more tornado tips, click here.


Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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