An emergency or natural disaster can strike at any time and without warning. Being prepared is the best way to ensure that you and your loved will not only survive the initial disaster, but for several days after if basic necessities are unavailable.
Here are 10 steps to make sure you are prepared:
- Know your risks.
- What are the hazards where you live or work? Find out what natural or human caused disasters pose a risk for you.
- Do you live near a flood plain, an earthquake fault, or in a high fire danger area?
- Are you prepared for an unexpected human-made disaster that can strike any time?
- Does your neighborhood or community have a disaster plan?
- Create a Family Disaster Plan
- Your family needs a plan that tells everyone: where to meet if you have to evacuate, who you’ve identified as an out-of-state “family contact”;
- how to get emergency information in your community;
- and how to take care of your family pets.
- Practice Your Disaster Plan
- After you have sat down with your family and written your plan — practice it.
- Start by having family members meet at a designated spot outside your home — like you would after a fire or after the shaking stops. Know how to respond in the event of any disaster — whether to stay put indoors, or whether to evacuate your neighborhood by car.
- If your family needs to evacuate, know the proper evacuation procedures and routes as determined by your local OES office.
- Build a Disaster Kit for Your Home
- If you are stranded in your car or have to be self-sufficient at home until help arrives, you need to have a disaster kit with you.
Below are essential suggestions to include in your emergency kits:
• Water (one gallon per person and pet per day at least for 5 to 10 days);
• Food (for a minimum of 5 to 10 days—don’t forget pet food);
• First aid kit;
• Flashlight(s) (and extra batteries);
• Radio (and extra batteries);
• Medications (prescription and non-prescription);
• Cash and important documents (birth certificates, tax returns, deeds, titles, and
• Clothing and sturdy shoes;
• Tools (hammer, wrench, pliers, duct tape, sturdy gloves, whistle, etc.);
• Sanitation and hygiene supplies;
• Fire extinguisher;
• Large heavy-duty trash bags; and
• Emergency Plan/Emergency Contact Information.
- Prepare Your Children
- Talk to your kids about what the risks are and what your family will do if disaster strikes.
- Don’t Forget Those with Special Needs
- Infants, seniors and those with special needs must not be forgotten.
- Make sure that supplies for your infant are in your kit and that you have items such as medications, oxygen tank, or other medical supplies that seniors or those with special needs may require.
- Check out Cal OES’ tips for preparing the elderly
- Learn CPR and First Aid
- Contact you local chapter of the American Red Cross today and get trained on basic first aid and CPR.
- Your training could save the life of a loved one or neighbor following a disaster.
- Eliminate Hazards in Your Home and in the Workplace
- You must secure the contents of your home or office to reduce hazards, especially during shaking from an earthquake or from an explosion.
- Understand Post 9/11 Risks
- Disaster preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones.
- Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count.
- Get Involved – Be a Volunteer
- There are plenty of ways to volunteer and donate during an emergency. Whether you donate blood, join a local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), educate your neighbor, or volunteer with you local American Red Cross, the hard work of volunteers is a critical component of a successful emergency management program.
To ensure all Californians are earthquake prepared, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) developed Earthquake Warning California, which is the nation’s first statewide earthquake warning system that provides several seconds of warning to mobile device users in the area before shaking occurs. Earthquake Warning California offers no-cost earthquake warning resources, including:
- MyShake App. A mobile app that can be downloaded for mobile devices at no-cost from Google Play the Apple App Store. App location services must be set to “always on” so that ground sensors can alert those in the nearby area when shaking is detected.
- Android Earthquake Alerts. An earthquake warning system available to any new or updated Android devices that uses that same technology as the MyShake App.
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEAs). Text-like messages from the government during emergency situations. This includes: Presidential, Imminent Threat (fire, earthquake, floods, etc.), and AMBER alerts.
Earthquake Warning California resources are designed to notify users to quickly take protective action such as to drop, cover, and hold on. These earthquake warning tools can help protect lives and prevent damage to properties in the areas hardest hit during an earthquake. In serious shaking situations, individuals may be knocked down to the ground, so sheltering prior to shaking is the prudent thing to do.
To learn more about Earthquake Warning California, the no-cost warning alert tools, and additional resources available to the public, visit www.earthquake.ca.gov.
The best way to survive an emergency or natural disaster is to be prepared. Please take all precautionary measures to keep you, your families, or employees safe. For additional resources and information on building a disaster kit, visit the following sites: https://www.ready.gov/kit; https://www.caloes.ca.gov/individuals-families or https://earthquake.ca.gov/get-prepared/. These sites have toolkits, fact sheets and downloadable materials that are free and at no cost to use. You never know when a major disaster will occur, so be prepared.