Why not today?! In recognition of the American Red Cross Disaster Preparedness month, my thoughts have turned to a subject near and dear to me: Safety First.
As we are experiencing the hottest months of the year in San Diego, I cannot help but remember past wild fires that required rapid evacuation for thousands of people. Much has been written on the subject of disaster preparedness and there are excellent resources available on the internet. I recently listened to Ricardo Moran of the San Diego Red Cross speak at a local NAPO meeting. He made excellent points regarding the importance of planning and preparedness broken down into three steps which I will share now.
1. Make a plan.
2. Get a kit.
3. Be informed.
Begin by making a plan:
This entails discussion with your family and those living with you of where to meet in case of an emergency (both close to home and further away depending upon the circumstances) and to designate points of contact in case your are separated. These contacts also give friends and family members a resource to obtain information regarding your safety when phone or internet service are interrupted. It is critical that you write down your plan and review it twice a year. Schedule this as you would any appointment, perhaps the weekend that you change your clocks. Remember to review your plan with your family, review and update your contact information, and to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Keep a copy of the emergency contacts in your purse/wallet, in your car and in your office. Know your escape routes both from your office, home and your neighborhood. Lastly, make a list of the vital information and materials that you want to take with you. In the moment of extreme panic or pressure, you will appreciate having practiced. Having a checklist allows you to stress a little less. Finally, register for reverse 911 calls. In San Diego, use http://www.readysandiego.org/alertsandiego
Get a kit:
Keep the following emergency supplies- food and water (1 gallon /day/person) for three days (evacuation) and for two weeks (home bound), medications, pet food, leashes, and carriers within easy reach, warm blankets, flashlights, first aid kit, batteries, cash in small denominations ($1's and $5's), fire safe with personal documents and identification, battery operated radio, sanitation and personal hygiene items, whistle, change of clothing, can opener, multipurpose tool, insurance information, plastic garbage bags, and entertainment items to occupy restless family members. Your list will vary depending upon what is important to you. I urge you to sit down now and make a list that meets your needs including the location of these items. I pray that you never need to use it.
This begins with knowing your neighbors. Consider a first aid class or CPR. Know your local organizations, such as CERT, and become more involved. Listen to emergency instructions if you are asked to evacuate.
I hope this has been helpful.
For more details and review, please see www.preparesandiego.org