Picture this doomsday scenario. Or watch it unfold on the local news. A disaster of unreal proportions happened just days before I re-wrote this blog. Superstorm Sandy prompted me to put fresh info into our series on Quake Preparedness.
Four days into the 2012 hurricane disaster back east and there are still people without power. There are painfully long lines to get gas. Families remain displaced and unable to return home. One community called itself "The Forgotten." These realities should serve as examples of the reality we could face here in California after a big earthquake. Don't we all think it will never really happen to us?
I sat down with disaster expert Gunnar Keupper who gave me some great tips on being earthquake ready. There was a simple tip, like, "know my neighbors." Truth be told, I blame being just too busy to have gotten to know my neighbors. I know the two next door well enough to say hello. Someone new moved in across the street. I popped over to meet another as he watered his plants. I'm most friendly with the couple behind me. Yet for the most I just don't know my neighbors. In the event of an emergency I'm sure I'd wish I did.
Keupper walked me through a series of safety preps. Here is more info on what to have in a quake kit. He advised me to practice a game plan with connecting with family and to have an out-of-state phone contact for us all to call. He advised securing your home, taking CPR and teaching your kids about earthquake readiness.
I pray I'll never have to put all this into play. But if I do, like they are in New York and New Jersey, I sure hope my prep work may pay off in helping me be just a tad bit more able to cope and recover from the unimaginable.
Earthquake Kit Check list (courtesy of FEMA):
Important phone numbers - local police, fire & school
Flashlights & spare batteries
Portable battery-powered radio or TV
Special needs: diapers/formula, meds, toilet paper, etc.
Cash and Credit Cards
Tools: Matches in waterproof container, lighter, whistle for signaling rescue workers, wrench
You can register your cell phone number or email address with the county's emergency mass notification system at www.alert.lacounty.gov.
People who might need special help in a disaster -- such as people with disabilities preventing them from evacuating a building, traveling to an emergency center or sheltering in place without assistance -- can register with the county's Specific Needs Disaster Voluntary Registry at www.snap.lacounty.gov.
The website www.espfocus.org features easy-to-print information sheets to help prepare for emergencies of all kinds, including terrorist attacks. An online Emergency Survival Guide at www.lacounty.gov offers tips on dealing with the results of a quake or other disaster.
Officials also highlighted two hotline numbers:
-- The Department of Public Health's Emergency Preparedness Hotline is staffed with multi-lingual operators from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to provide information on disaster preparedness at (866) 999-5228.
Staffers speak English, Spanish, Korean, Armenian, Mandarin and Cantonese Chinese, Vietnamese and Russian.
-- The county's disaster hotline at (800) 980-4990 has recorded information on emergency preparedness in English and Spanish available 24 hours a day.