Preparing for a Disaster
What would you do if an earthquake, tsunami or wildfire occurred? An Action Plan for different events is a good first step. Key steps to your plan may include:
- Ask an out-of-town friend or relative to be your contact person. In a disaster, it is often easier to place a long distance call than a local call
- Have a disaster kit prepared with necessities, such as food, water, medication and first aid supplies that would last for up to 2 weeks.
- Don't forget to plan for your pets, as well.
- Keep copies of insurance, property, financial and health documents available. Document your household items and valuables and store them in a secure place.
- Keep sturdy shoes, work gloves and flashlight under the bed for quick access.
- For extended events, you may wish to have a tent and sleeping bags available. A portable radio, rain gear and planning for sanitation needs for you and your pets are also recommended
- Learn when, under what circumstances, and how to turn off your utilities.
- Identify Hazards - secure water heater, tall pieces of furniture, breakable items on high shelves, computers, stereos, televisions, hanging plants, mirrors and heavy pictures. Cabinet doors should be secured, and poisons and toxic solvents in breakable containers should be stored in low places. Do you have an older home? Is it anchored to its foundation?
- Make sure your car has at least a half tank of gas at all times.
On the Go - Having a carefully prepared backpack - sometimes referred to as "Go Bags" - to quickly grab-and-go will give you some needed peace of mind. Go Bags should be considered when there are imposing wildfire or tsunami threats that call for immediate evacuation. One for each member of your home, including pets, is advised.
Sheltering at Home - Should you be unable to leave your home after a disaster, being prepared could make a world of difference. In addition to the backpack mentioned above, you may need additional supplies to shelter at home. A clean garbage can or plastic tub full of supplies is recommended. To help you prepare, there is a printout available under the Flyers/Handout tab that you can take with you to the store which lists suggested items you might need. Suggestions on where to store these items and packing ideas are also provided.
Sheltering in Place - During an incident such as a chemical spill, you may be directed to shelter in place (inside your home) and advised to seal windows and doors. Deciding ahead of time which room should be designated as a 'Safe Room' and having supplies on hand will make this easier.