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Palo Alto ESV Program Information

Discover Palo Alto’s Emergency Services Volunteer program run by Ken Dueker:

It is not a question of “if” but “when”. The challenging question is: Will you be prepared for tomorrow’s disasters? Meet and prepare your neighbors before disaster strikes.

From the official city site we read:

(…) “The mission of the Palo Alto Emergency Services Volunteers (ESV) is to: 1) provide supplemental resources to the professional first responders of the City and surrounding communities and 2) facilitate means for neighbors to help neighbors (including business and other entities).

The ESV organization supports the mission of the Palo Alto/Stanford Citizen Corps Council (CCC): “The mission of the Palo Alto/Stanford Citizen Corps is to harness the power of individuals, businesses, and organizations through education, training and volunteer service to make communities resilient, safe, strong and prepared to respond to and recover from threats of 1) natural disasters, 2) human-caused disasters, 3) crime, 4) public health emergencies, 5) terrorism, and 6) disasters of all kinds.”

The Emergency Services Volunteers nomenclature is an “umbrella” to include all City-sponsored emergency preparedness volunteer programs, such as ARES/RACES (ham radio), Block Preparedness Coordinators (BPC) & Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinators (NPCs), and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) volunteers.

According to the Palo Alto Municipal Code (PAMC) Sec. 2.12.070, ESVs are a part of the City’s Emergency Organization: “All officers and employees of this city, together with those volunteer forces enrolled to aid them during an emergency, and all groups, organizations, and persons who may by agreement or operation of law … be charged with duties incident to the protection of life and property in the city during such emergency, shall constitute the emergency organization of the city of Palo Alto.” (emph. added)

The Palo Alto Office of Emergency Services (OES) is the sponsor of the ESV program.  Because OES serves all City departments (including Public Safety (Police & Fire), Public Works, Community Services, etc.), ESVs may be deployed, at the discretion of OES, to function in various capacities to suit their requirements or the needs of our mutual aid partners, including Stanford University, Los Altos, Mountain View, Sunnyvale, NASA Ames Moffett Field, etc.” (…) See: More

Volunteer Program Descriptions:

Neighborhood and Block Preparedness Coordinator Program

The BPC Program trains volunteers to staff BPC positions for each block and Neighborhood Preparedness Coordinators (NPC) for each neighborhood (including businesses/districts or other groups).

Palo Alto CERT Program

Using training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.


The Office of Emergency Services administers the auxiliary communications services for the City of Palo Alto.  Auxiliary Communications includes ARES and RACES.  If you live or work in Palo Alto and you are a communications professional, amateur radio operator, or simply interested in radio communications we would welcome your involvement.

More: Neighborhood FRS Radio Channels

Palo Alto Medical Reserve Corps

The Palo Alto MRC functions as a way to locally organize and utilize volunteers who want to donate their time and expertise to prepare for and respond to emergencies and promote healthy living throughout the year.

Further reading: ESV Trifold Brochure and do read this overview about Emergency Preparedness.

Get involved! 

Want to become an ESV?

Ready to join? Click HERE for the ESV Application Form

 This page is made by Ardan Michael Blum. Content is adapted from Palo Alto official pages. Ardan Michael is a member of the Palo Alto ESV team and currently BPC for Forest Avenue.