Emergency Preparedness: Disaster Safety

Emergency Preparedness
Who among us has a crystal ball, access to a sure thing at Del Mar, or even the secret to hitting the winning number on the roulette table in Vegas? Don’t we wish!
As of this writing our prayers continue for all the victims of the horrific hurricanes in the Houston area, the Caribbean and the Southeastern United States. While these residents had some prior warning of what was coming, many either did not heed or were not prepared for the eventful disaster that followed.
What about us in Southern California? Or maybe more personally just in Niguel Shores. Natural disasters such as tornadoes, floods, forest fires, snow and ice storms,  tsunamis, might potentially impact areas around us but are rather unlikely to happen in the Shores. But what about the possibility of an earthquake? YOUBETCHA!! And what distinguishes us from those other disasters? We are unlikely to have any advance warning at all, other than the many years we have been told “The Big One Is Coming.”
So… does that mean it will happen right in the middle of our own community? Not necessarily, but we should be PREPARED anyway! WHY? So many of the related issues that faced Houston and South Florida could impact our very neighborhood: Road damage and impasse, inability to access gasoline, disruption of drinking water and water supplies for cooking or sanitation, limited fire fighting support, electricity, food supplies, communication lines.
We could become an island cut off from the areas around us. We might have limited or no emergency services, police support, fire department, and all the other services we take for granted such as garbage removal, utilities, construction repairs, routine service calls—and forget about banking services, cable and television, or postal delivery.
The good news? We can overcome many of these issues if we’re prepared. The basics are easy: extra drinking water, canned or preserved food (and can opener!), first aid items, flashlights, lanterns, some extra batteries or even a generator, a fire extinguisher. Also, how about propane and matches for the gas grill or charcoal, and a battery operated or hand cranked radio? And don’t forget a change of clothes.
You should also prepare an easily portable emergency document file or flash drive with copies of VITAL RECORDS (birth certificates, marriage and drivers licenses, passports, property deeds, auto titles, insurance policies), FINANCIAL INFORMATION (bank accounts, credit cards, pensions, investments, mortgages), MEDICAL INFORMATION (health cards, medical history, medications, ongoing conditions, physicians names and numbers).
So, I’m going to stop here. All of these EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS items and steps are pretty much common sense and readily available. But YOU have to make it happen. As neighbors we’ll come together and do our best to make sure everyone is safe and taken care of, BUT we ALL need to make a commitment.
Go to www.fema.gov, the American Red Cross, or a host of other services that make earthquake prep recommendations and provide sources for supplies. AND, while you’re at it, compare rates on earthquake insurance options for your home.
When we look in the mirror, we really don’t have an excuse for not BEING PREPARED, do we?
—Kent Wellbrock

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