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Earthquakes, hurricanes, floods and tornadoes are a few of the natural disasters that have been in the news the past year. Although technology has aided in the warnings of some threats, too often the loss of valuables and property is accompanied with loss of life.
It is not possible to always know when a disaster will hit your area, but advance preparation can aid in surviving one. Living in Southern California, the most likely natural disasters will be earthquake, flooding, mudslides, wildfires and maybe even a tsunami.
Your risks may be for hurricanes or tornadoes in addition to some of the others listed. By preparing for the various possible emergencies, you and your family will know what to do when one occurs.
In case the disaster restricts the ability to get water, food and other essentials it is important to pack an emergency kit. A standard recommendation is to have supplies to last a minimum of three days. Remember to include food and water for any pets as well.
Other common kit essentials are batteries, flashlights, radio, first aid kit, clothing, and blankets. You'll want to keep the kit stored where it can be easily accessed in a emergency. If you live in a tornado-prone area, you might store the kit in an underground shelter. If evacuation is more likely a good storage location would be a car trunk.
Rotate items regularly to ensure freshness and usability. Check expiration dates and replace as needed to avoid ending up in the dark because of old batteries.
Have a plan for the actual emergency. When we had to evacuate due to wildfires a few years ago, there was a moment of panic due to lack of a plan. Include the following elements:
- Meeting Place: Identify where the family should meet or where loved ones can find you. Make sure everyone has the phone number and address memorized.
- List of Essentials: In addition to the kit, there may be items you want to take if possible whether it is because of sentiment or monetary value. In addition to family pictures, don't forget documents that would be difficult or time-consuming to replace such as licenses, passports and certificates.
- Research: Disasters do happen when people are away from home. Make sure you know the evacuation plan for schools, workplaces and other locations that family members frequent.
Keep informed on what's going on if the threat is known in advance. Check the status frequently on television, radio or the internet. Make sure your phone numbers are registered for reverse 911 even if they are not land lines.
Spending a little time getting ready for a natural disaster can result in a better outcome for you and your family. Are you prepared?