September is National Emergency Prep Month, so here are some of the best tips for getting prepared and keeping your family safe by creating an emergency preparedness kit. As I turn on the news today, my thoughts are with the families impacted by the hurricane in Texas. While natural disasters are frightening tragedies that can’t always be prevented, we can be prepared for them.
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WHAT SHOULD I KNOW?
How to be notified
The Emergency Alert System will broadcast on KNX 1070 AM and KFI 640 AM. County officials use a “reverse 911” system, which will calls landlines of areas at risk. To register your cell phone go to your county’s website.
Know the non-emergency phone numbers for your local fire station, police station and hospital. Keep these stored in your phone.
Know your surroundings
Install smoke detectors, have a fire extinguisher, and know how to shut off your gas, power and water. It is not advisable to turn off the gas unless you know a gas line has been ruptured or you smell gas. Prepare for the needs of the disabled or those who need special assistance.
Contact snap.lacounty.gov for Specific Needs Awareness Planning. The website accessibleemergencyinfo.com has preparedness information in Braille and videos in ASL.
WHAT’S OUR PLAN?
Services may not be available after a disaster. Plan for loss of power, transportation problems, limited communication, and delayed help from emergency responders. It is important to have food, water, and emergency equipment stored somewhere outside of the home.
- Discuss with your family ahead of time about how to handle emergencies.
- Identify exit routes from your home. Your main exit may be blocked.
- Choose two places to meet after a disaster. One near your home, and the other should be farther away in case the entire area is affected.
- Choose an out of state contact, and make sure everyone has that contact information. A long distance call may be easier to make as local phone lines might be affected.
- Try emailing and texting if phones are down.
- Store emergency contact info in your cell phone under “ICE” for In Case of Emergency.
- Have all emergency contact information written down and store it with your emergency kit. Keep a copy in your wallet.
- Periodically practice and reevaluate your plan.
It is important to have supplies on hand in order to survive if an emergency occurs. The following is a list of some basic items.
- Individual kit: Three days of supplies for one person in a backpack. Keep one at home, one in your car, and one at work.
Family Kit for Home: Minimum 7 days of supplies for the entire family to be kept at home in a sturdy, water tight container.
- By the Bed Kit: Sturdy pair of shoes, flashlight, and glasses if you wear them.
- Water: Clean water may not be accessible. It is important to store plenty of water, and know how to access alternative sources of water like, melted ice cubes, your water heater, etc. Buy one gallon of drinking water for each family member. Have a 3 day supply for evacuation and a minimum 7 day supply for home.
- Food: Store non-perishable, ready-to-eat food. Suggestions are canned meat, tuna, vegetables, fruits, and soup than can be consumed cold right out of the can. Have a 3 day supply for evacuation and a minimum 7 day supply for home.
sosproducts.com for long term food and MRE’s
- Utensils: With all the canned food you have in storage, make sure you have a manual can opener, and disposable plates, napkins and cups.
- Flashlight and Portable Radio: You will need light and a radio for news updates. Combination equipment is available. This particular one provides a portable radio, light, and a port for charging cellphones.
- Extra Batteries: Make sure you have spare batteries in the correct size.
- Sleeping Bags/Blankets: Have a sleeping bag for each member of the family in case you have to sleep outside of the house. Include blankets and small pillows.
Emergency blankets can be purchased and take up less room.
- Extra Clothes: Keep an extra change of clothes for each family member stored in a water-proof bag.
- Towels: Have towels of all kinds and sizes.
- First-aid and medication: A water proof kit that is easy to carry. Include bandages and antibiotic ointments for treating minor wounds, and items for treating headaches, diarrhea, and allergies. Family members who take regular prescription drugs, should have a 7 day supply. Include a mini first-aid book.
- Sanitary and hygiene items: Stock up on toilet paper, toothbrushes, toothpaste, feminine supplies, diapers. Include chlorine bleach and an eyedropper for use as a disinfectant. Have trash bags on hand for toilet needs.
- Tools: Important tools to have on hand include, scissors, screwdriver, knife, hammer and pliers. Include a whistle (to let others know your whereabouts), duct tape, working gloves, and matches in a ziplock bag.
- Cellphone, chargers and family contact information: Make sure your cellphones are always charged and have back up portable chargers handy. One of my favorite portable chargers that fits nicely in a purse is Jackery Mini. It is also a good idea to have a corded-non electric phone because in a power outage, cordless phones do not work. Use the internet and social media if possible to be in communication.
- Important Documents: In the case of abandoning your house during an emergency, it would be good to have your important documents with you when you leave. Make sure these are in ziplock bags for protection and stored in a bag ready to be carried any time. Important documents to consider are, deed or lease to house, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies, proof of residence, medical information and prescriptions. I like this file to store everything, it’s easy to grab and go.
- Extra Cash: Your credit cards might not work. Have ready cash in order to purchase supplies. Good to have some coins too!
- Special supplies for baby, elderly, pets and disabled family members: If you have a baby or toddler, make sure you have your baby supplies like bottles, milk formula and baby food. For elderly or disabled members, do not forget to pack walking canes, hearing aids, dentures, glasses, etc.
- Entertainment: If you have young children, have something for their entertainment that is small enough to squeeze in your bag. These may include crayons and coloring book, small portable version of a game, a small car or doll.
- Pet Supplies: Pets are part of the family too!
Pack a bag with food, a bowl, leash, carrier, pet identification, vaccination records and a photo of your pet.
- Paper and pencil/pens
An emergency survival kit should be water-proof with handles for easy carrying.
*Much of this information was provided by the American Red Cross and the Southern California Edison Company. For more detailed information please visit their website.
redcross.org and preparesocal.org
Earthquake Country Alliance www.earthquakecountry.info
Federal Emergency Management Agency FEMA calema.ca.gov
The Great California Shake Out shakeout.org
California Earthquake Authority earthquake authority.com
Totally Unprepared totallyunprepared.com