Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preparing for Disaster

Recently, I reconnected with a very influential person in my life, John Griffin Jr. During my time as a seasonal firefighter in 1981/82, John was a Lieutenant at my fire station. He taught me core values in community service and involvement. "It does take a village…"

John’s Information Pack reads as follows:

“The following website’s are very good, lots of vital information. Each of us should act now!!!

Work with your neighbor’s. Learn CPR, Learn First Aid. Remember your pets. Do not forget about the sick and injured.

Learn how to use and do the following, “BEFORE” you have to use or do it in an EMERGENCY.
1) Fire Extinguisher- recommended size-3-A-10-BC, on the car and one for the home or as many as you think you might need
2) Attach a gas shut off key to your gas meter, and water meter.
3) A Pry-Bar. (Gloves, Eye Protection, Dusk Mask, Helmet, hard sole shoes, to protect your feet from glass, nails and other debris.)
4) Two way family communication radios.
5) Have a place and practice your escape plan from your home or apartment. If you live in a 2 story complex or home, may want to buy a portable Fire Escape Ladder???
6) Teach your small children how to and when to dial, 911.
7) A family first aid kit, know how to use the item’s, within it.
8) A whistle for each family member.
9) Try to maintain a full tank of fuel, in your car or truck.
10) Keep cash on hand.
11) Copies of very important paper’s (documents’).

We live in Earthquake Country. Are you prepared???
Go to this website for a lot of good info:

Some of this information, you will see repeated, it is to get you thinking about what you, your family and friends need to be working on. This is very useful information. Just a few reminders to assist your family and friends in getting your Disaster Supply Kit together. Read all of the enclosed information. Take action, now. Disaster’s, such as earthquakes, power outages, and in the winter month’s there is flooding, mudslides, and in the summer, there are wild land fires.

Keep a full tank of gas. Keep some cash on hand and a Cell phone vehicle charger. Keep an emergency supply kit in your car and office. Blankets, drinking water, you should carry a small bottle of water with you at all times, especially if you are taking medication. Non-perishable food!!! You should keep a flash light handy.

Another friendly reminder:
Be sure to check your vehicle’s head lights and tail lights, to see that they are working. If one or more are not working, the police will stop you. Also keep handy, vehicle registration, proof of auto insurance, and of course your driver’s license. Be sure you have your seat belt on, wait for the Officer to ask you for the above items, before removing your seat belt.

Actions for Emergency Preparedness

i Make a Plan.
Planning ahead is the first step to a calmer and more assured disaster response.

1) Talk. Discuss with your family the disasters that can happen where you live. Establish responsibilities for each member of your household and plan to work together as a team. Designate alternates in case someone is absent.
2) Plan. Choose two places to meet after a disaster:
-right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as a fire
-Outside your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate your neighborhood.
3) Learn. Each adult in your household should learn how and when to turn off utilities such ac electricity, water and gas. Ask someone at the fire department to show you how to use the fire extinguisher you store in your home.
4) Check supplies. Review your disaster supplies and replace water and food every six months.
5) Tell. Let everyone in the household know where emergency contact information is kept. Make copies for everyone to carry with them. Be sure to include an out of area contact. It may be easier to call out of the area if local phone lines are overloaded or out of service. Keep the information updated.
6) Practice. Practice evacuating your home twice a year. Drive your planned evacuation route and plot alternate routes on a map in case main roads are impassable or grid locked. Practice earthquake, tornado and fire drills at home, school and work.
7) Sheltering in Place. Chemical or airborne hazards require a spherical response called sheltering in place. If local officials advise you to shelter in place:
- close and lock all windows and exterior doors.
- turn off all fans, heating and air conditioning systems
- close the fireplace damper
-get your disaster supplies kit out and make sure the radio is working
-go to an interior room without windows that is above ground level
-using duct tape, seal all cracks around the door and any vents in the room
-listen to your radio or television for further instructions. Local officials may call for evacuation in specific areas.

II. Get a Kit
Store enough supplies for everyone in your household for at least three days. Include any necessary items for infants, seniors and people with disabilities in your kit. Store your disaster supplies in a sturdy but easy to carry container. Keep a smaller version of the kit in your vehicle.

1) Water. Have at least one gallon, per person, per day.
2) Food. Pack non perishable, high, protein items, including energy bars, ready to eat soup, peanut butter, etc. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water.
3) Flashlight. Include extra batteries.
4) First aid kit. Pack a reference guide.
5) Medications. Don’t forget prescription and nonprescription items.
6) Battery operated radio. Include extra batteries.
7) Tools. A wrench to turn off gas if necessary, manual can opener, screwdriver, hammer, pliers, knife, duct tape, plastic sheeting and garbage bags and ties.
8) Clothing. Provide a change of clothes for everyone, including sturdy shoes and gloves.
9) Personal items. Remember eyeglasses or contact lenses and solution; copies of important papers, including identification cards, insurance policies, birth certificates, passports, etc; and comfort items such as toys and books.
10) Sanitary supplies. You’ll want toilet paper, towelettes, feminine supplies, personal hygiene items, bleach, etc.
11) Money. Have cash.
12) Contact information. Carry a current list of family phone numbers and email addresses, including someone out of the area who may be easier to reach if local phone lines are out of service or overloaded.
13) Pet supplies. Include food, water, leash, litter box or plastic bags, tags, any medications, and vaccination information.
14) Map. Consider marking an evacuation route on it from your local area.

III. Be Informed
Learning basic First Aid and CPR/AED skills can give you the confidence and ability to help anyone in your family, community and at work in the event of an emergency.
When a major disaster or local emergency occurs your life can change in an instant. Loved ones can be hurt and emergency response can be delayed. You can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to recognize and provide basic but critical care for injuries and sudden illnesses, including the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED) for victims of sudden cardiac arrest, until EMS arrive. You can do this! Three critical steps to help you act in an emergency:
-Check the scene for safety and the victim for life threatening conditions
-Call 911 or your local emergency number and request professional assistance.
-Care for the victim until emergency assistance arrives.

Actions to take when disasters occur: During and after an Earthquake DROP, COVER and HOLD ON.

If you are indoors: Drop to the floor, take cover under a piece of heavy furniture, cover your head, and hold on to the furniture with your other hand
If you are outdoors: Move into the open, away from buildings, lights trees and utility wires
Following an Earthquake:
Be prepared for aftershocks
In case of a fire, take action quickly:
-Always plan two escape routes from every room
-If a fire occurs and you are behind a closed door, feel the door before you open it. If the door is hot, find another way out.
-If you must exit through smoke, drop to the floor and crawl: get out as fast as you can
-Once you are out, STAY OUT- never go back into a burning building
-If you cannot escape safely, go to a window and signal for help

Take steps to prepare for a Pandemic: Practice Healthy Hygiene
-Clean hands often- Wash with soap and water or with hand sanitizer
-Cover mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough and wash hands afterwards
-Keep hands away from face
-If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.
Prepare at Home
Determine what supplies you will need to provide care at home
Stock up now
-Reduce your need to go out during a local flu pandemic by stocking extra food, water and supplies at home
-If you do get sick and have extra supplies on hand, you will help reduce the spread of pandemic flu by staying home
For more information on action steps to take in a disaster visit

The following are recommended and suggested things you may want to do and get. Again everyone has different needs- please keep that in mind as you look over the list.

Here is what you can do to be prepared:
1) Two-way family radios with charger
2) Portable radio with spare batteries, lantern do not forget to check the batteries periodically
3) Put away some money, consider keeping small bills, such as ones, fives, tens and twenties
4) Plan what to do with your pets. They depend upon you. Remember service animals are the only animals allowed in shelters. You should identify the hotels and motels that will allow animals, and locate animal boarding facilities, that might accept your pets
5) Make an emergency plan for yourself and your family. Meet with your neighbors too. Make sure that you have provided emergency contact information to those who will need it, choose a person that everyone will telephone in case you are separated. Consider selecting someone who lives outside the immediate area, to increase the chances that telephone calls can get through. Always try to carry the number with you. Establish a phone tree to relay important emergency information to family and friends. Local phone lines may be down, this allows an out of town relative or friend to know and relay information about the where abouts and health of your entire family.
6) Those of us that have school age children, know what your schools emergency plans are and their procedures for releasing your children, and have a designated meeting place.
7) Basic planning will save you and your family time and energy should a disaster strike. A few moments of planning today will pay off should you ever need to enact your personal emergency preparedness plan. Have a family meeting so that everyone knows the plan; this includes your children!
8) Keep the gas tank full of fuel, if you have a car. Gas stations maybe closed and you may have to drive a distance to get out of the affected area
9) Cell phone charger
10) Heavy work shoes or boots, socks, rain gear
11) Fire Extinguisher 3-A-10-BC for home and car. You should know how to use it, before you have to use it!!
12) Keep a supply of essentials ready, you should rotate supplies every six months to keep them fresh
13) Water, plan on 1 Gallon per person per day. You should store enough water to last 7 full days.
14) Nonperishable packaged foods that can be eaten cold—Do not forget the manual can opener
15) A small BBQ grill for cooking and warming—do not forget the charcoal’s and lighter fluid
16) Matches—keep them in a water tight container or plastic bag
17) Spare reading and sun glasses
19) If you are asked to evacuate, take your pocket book or wallet, car keys (You may want to put a Hide a Key), spare car key on your car
20) Avoid passing out unsubstantiated information and rumors
21) Comply quickly and calmly with instruction you may receive.
22) Games for small children
23) Blankets and sleeping bags and other items that may keep you warm—gloves, etc
24) Generator with extension cords.
25) Small microwave oven