Help may not arrive for hours after an earthquake or other disaster, which is why residents, businesses and nonprofit groups are being given information on how to prepare and respond to an emergency at events in Hayward and Oakland.

The American Red Cross is holding a free course Friday in Hayward for businesses and nonprofit groups to plan for emergencies and how to recover from disasters.

And June 19 in Oakland, Alameda County will be teaching residents emergency skills, such as how to assemble a preparedness kit and what equipment to have on hand.

The Red Cross, Collaborating Agencies Responding to Disasters (CARD) and other groups will be on hand at the free Get Ready! fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Oakland Coliseum. They'll be handing out flashlights and other supplies for people who take a preparedness class.

A special focus will be residents who are homeless; have physical, developmental or mental health challenges; or are young, elderly or undocumented. Parking is free, and the event is accessible via the Coliseum BART station. For more information, go to www.acphd.org.

At Friday's Hayward event, the Red Cross will be teaching a four-hour course on emergency procedures for clients, staff members and customers. It also will have information on how to continue operating a business or nonprofit agency after a disaster.

Those attending are asked to complete a Red Cross Rating assessment at www.readyrating.org before the course to receive a 20-person disaster kit.

The course is 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Rose Hospital's Sherman Balch Pavilion, 27190 Calaroga Ave. To register, email Yessenia.delavega@redcross.org or call 415-427-8021.