Plan for Emergencies
Emergencies come in different sizes - from a pipe break causing a water quality issue on one street to an earthquake impacting all of San Diego County. Our focus, throughout an emergency, is maintaining a safe water supply and providing the critical information our customers need.
Backup power supplies at our water treatment plant and pump stations assure that we can continue treating and distributing water when the electrical grid goes down.
Emergency Operations Center (EOC)
Our EOC (emergency operations center), where we coordinate operations and communications with customers, agencies, and media run on solar power and a backup generator.
Helix, other water agencies, and cities have shared resources agreements, so equipment and key people can be allocated where and when they are needed.
Helix's field operations, Geographic Information System (GIS), and customer service staff coordinate to quickly identify impacted customers and broadcast recorded phone messages to them using Text-Em-All's web-based software.
A link on our homepage will take customers to a blog post continuously updated with critical information. We will respond to customers who submit questions and comments.
We will continuously update Twitter with critical information and respond to customer questions.
You want to get prepared for an emergency right now and know how to locate and make sure friends and families are OK when it happens.
Know Your Hazards: Wildfire, Earthquakes, Floodplains
The County of San Diego’s Know Your Hazards Tool shows you the wildfire, earthquake, flooding, and tsunami hazard levels at your home address. Click the launch button, click OK, enter your address and click on each hazard layer, one at a time.
Sign Up for Emergency Notices
Register your cellphone with AlertSanDiego, a County of San Diego phone app that assures you are notified when an emergency impacts your neighborhood or the region.
Make a Plan
Use the County of San Diego’s Personal Disaster Plan to prepare for, respond to and recover from an emergency. It’s a fill-in-the-blanks template and also tells you how to assemble your emergency kit.
Monitor the Emergency
When wildfires and other emergencies happen, visit hwd.com or Twitter for the latest news. Helix, Cal Fire and other government agencies use Twitter to reach residents with updates and information.
County of San Diego
The county provides information on evacuations, shelters, road closures, and other disaster-related services on the following channels:
Helix, CalFire, ReadySanDiego and other public agencies provide updates on Twitter. Click in the "Search Twitter" field and type in the name of the agency you want to follow:
Install Twitter On an iPhone
Click on the App Store icon and search for Twitter. Click "Get" then "Install". Sign up and create a username.
Install Twitter On an Android Phone
Click on the Play Store icon and search for Twitter. Click "Install", sign up and create a username
- Click on the Play Store icon
- Search for Twitter
- Click “Install”
- Sign up
- Create a username
Follow Helix on Twitter
- Click in the “Search Twitter” field
- Type “helixwater”
- Click “Follow” on Helix’s Twitter page
How to Store Water
- Store in a cool, dark place at least a week's supply of drinking water for each family member (one gallon per person per day)
- Store at least 2 gallons of water in your vehicle
- Store additional water for hygiene, cooking, and pets
- Replace your stored water every six months
- Clean, heavy, opaque bottles with screw-on lids are preferable for storing water
How to Disinfect Water
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Red Cross recommend the following methods:
- Boil for 5 to 10 minutes, or
- Add 8 drops of non-concentrated household bleach solution per gallon of water or 5 drops of concentrated household bleach per gallon of clear water, mix well and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cloudy, add 5 to 10 more drops of bleach. A slight smell or taste of chlorine indicates water is adequately disinfected, or
- Add 20 drops of 2% USP tincture of iodine per gallon of water. If water is cloudy, add 20 more drops and let stand for 30 minutes, or
- Use commercial purification tablets and follow package instructions
Alternate Water Sources
- Water heater
- Toilet tanks (not the bowl) if the water hasn’t been treated
- Swimming pools (for hygiene purposes only); drinking swimming pool water is not recommended because chemicals can build up to harmful levels