Citizens of the Golden State, we have done it—we made it to level 9 in the game called 2020.
And, if nothing else, this anything-that-can-go-wrong year has made us think about being prepared. Now it’s time to actually do it. When disaster strikes, emergency crews will be busy; they may not have time to get to you immediately. That’s why you need a plan.
Admittedly, there will always be instances, such as in the Paradise fire and the latest lightning-strike fires, in which there is no time to prepare; we just have to grab and go. But if something happens, do you know where to meet the rest of your family if you can’t get home? Who will get the pets, or be in charge of the “go” bag? Who knows where the important documents are?
September is National Emergency Preparedness Month, and this year’s theme is appropriate: “Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today.”
The Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (CalOES) offers California-specific resources on their site, in English and Spanish, on not only how to prepare before a disaster but also how to recover after a disaster has occurred. Cal OES also has a ten-step plan to get you ready, that includes the following tasks:
- Identify your risk. What are the hazards where you live or work? Find out what natural or human caused disasters pose a risk for you.
- Create a family disaster plan. Your family needs a plan that tells everyone where to meet if you have to evacuate.
- Practice, practice, practice. Once you have a plan, practice it. Have family members meet at a designated spot. Know whether to stay put indoors, or whether to evacuate your neighborhood by car.
- Build a Kit. Gather supplies you may need if stranded in your car or at home. It may be awhile before help arrives.
- Learn CPR and First Aid. Get trained on basic first aid and CPR; you can save the life of a loved one or neighbor.
Here’s an assignment from Ready.Gov for the month of September: Four tasks, one per week, and you’ll be set to go:
- Week 1 September 1-5: Make aA Plan. Talk to your friends and family about how you will communicate before, during, and after a disaster. Make sure to update your plan based on the Centers for Disease Control recommendations due to the coronavirus.
- Week 2 September 6-12: Build a Kit. Gather supplies that will last for several days after a disaster for everyone living in your home—including pets, and keep them updated.
- Week 3 September 13-19: Prepare for Disasters. Know the risk of disasters in your area and check your insurance coverage. Learn how to make your home stronger in the face of storms and other common hazards and act fast if you receive a local warning or alert.
- Week 4 September 20-26: Teach Youth About Preparedness. Talk to your kids about preparing for emergencies and what to do in case you are separated. Get them involved in the process.
Sound like too much to do, especially at the start of the school year? Put it on your calendar for next month; or make a goal—how about by the end of the year? You don’t have to wait for next year’s National Emergency Preparedness Month to come around again; preparing for a disaster can be done anytime of the year. And the sooner you do it, the better off you’ll be if disaster strikes.
More Ways to Get Ready
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offers several how-to videos on their YouTube channel:
CalOES’ offers state-specific information on their YouTube channel
Set Up Text Alerts:
Sign up at Cal Alerts to receive California Earthquake Warnings and Wireless Emergency Alert texts.