EPC – Do’s and Dont’s During a Disaster

These fall months are dedicated to preparedness and prevention in many areas; Red Ribbon Week anti-drug observation, Breast Cancer Awareness, Domestic Violence Awareness and Emergency Preparedness. The articles from the Emergency Preparedness Committee share common sense and disaster preparedness information for staying safe before, during and after any disaster!

Critical Don’ts:

■■ Don’t count on first responders arriving fast enough. It might take them hours, days, even weeks to come to your aid. Some of the roads may be too hazardous for their vehicles.

■■ Don’t count on stores being open or stocked with enough supplies for the neighborhood. Gas stations may be damaged, closed, or out of gas. Hardware stores may never open. Pharmacies may be closed or short on medications. Emergency tools and equipment may be very hard to find.

■■ Don’t count on credit/debit cards or ATM’s. Banks may be open. Stores may only take cash, and many may not have change.

■■ Don’t count on CBs and walkie-talkies to summon help. In a major disaster, authorities will not be listening to walkie-talkies and they may not be listening to CBs either. The Emergency Operations Center may not be at City Hall, or City Hall may be closed.

■■ Don’t count on public or private transportation.

■■ Don’t ignore a nonfunctioning stoplight. Treat those intersections as if there were four-way stops. If a stop sign is knocked down, you are still required to stop. If speed limit signs are down, you are still expected to drive at safe speeds.

■■ Don’t crowd cell phone lines with personal calls or extended calls.

■■ Don’t ignore posted detours, barricades or crime tape. If you know of an unmarked danger to motorists, place barriers or flashing lights and notify authorities. Don’t

just wait for them to arrive.

■■ Don’t light flares if there is any chance of a gasoline leak nearby. Keep electronic flares, they are safer and last longer.

■■ Don’t use generators inside homes, garages, or any enclosed area. Keep generators dry. Never plug into a wall outlet, it may cause back-feeding and electrocute utility workers. Do not refuel until the generator has cooled down. Store fuel away from generators, fuel-burning appliances and living areas. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Dry hands before touching the generator.

■■ Don’t relight gas appliances; leave that to the utility company. Don’t cook indoors with fossil fuels or briquettes; they might create undetectable, deadly carbon monoxide gas.

■■ Don’t leave your pets behind, locked indoors within 72 hours of food. The best thing you can do is take them with you. Make sure you know multiple out of town hotels, motels or homes where both you and your pets are welcome. Carry a picture of them.

■■ Don’t count on shelters being at the places you expected. The designated areas may have become too dangerous, listen to the radio for the newest and safest locations.

■■ And don’t forget to check on your neighbors. The Emergency Preparedness Committee encourages all Niguel Shores Neighbors to join together for the safety of all!

“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

—Jan Sener

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