Emergency Preparedness Committee: New Year Preparedness

Happy New Year . . . now let’s get down to some serious business. If you haven’t made those New Year’s resolutions yet, let me urge you to prioritize some from my list.
As I pen this article (December 15th), several fires continue to rage in Ventura, Santa Barbara, and San Diego, and previously I wrote about the disastrous firestorms in Wine Country. The devastation has been horrific, to include homes and businesses, loss of personal belongings, vast natural habitats, extensive evacuations, and certainly many injuries and at least one human life. Do you remember 1992 and the firestorm in Laguna Beach? DON’T be one that says “Well, it can’t happen in the Shores.” IT CAN, and you can take EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS steps now to minimize the potential loss of your home, prized possessions and documents, and—most
critically—life and limb.
Another concern is the possibility of our ground shaking some time in the future. Some might still contend that the BIG ONE won’t impact us in the Shores, or the same for a catastrophic firestorm, or other potential emergencies in our community.
No one wants to be the one to say, “I told you so.” Now is the time to put some additions on the New Year’s resolution list regarding emergency preparation. We’ve talked about these before, but here are some reminders: Have an evacuation plan, exit routes and meeting places. Establish points of contact for communicating with one another by listing key telephone and cell numbers to include those out of town, in case local lines are jammed. Keep your cell phone charged at all times and consider a back-up battery as well as a charging cord in the car, extra batteries and more than one flashlight, ready extra cash, and no less than a half tank of gas.
And how about short term evacuation notice? Grab important documents, photos, laptop and flash drives. Don’t forget Fido and Kitty, family heirlooms, etc. BUT, if you are notified to leave on short notice, heed that warning and GET OUT!
An earthquake presents some different alternatives: Know how to shut off your gas source if necessary, make sure your house is safe to shelter in place, and have all the multiple resources we discussed before such as food supplies, water, first aid supplies, a battery operated or hand crank radio.
Remember, if we experience one of these disasters you might be on your own without short term medical assistance, fire department support, and police department back-up. Forget about ATMs, getting a prescription at the pharmacy, gasoline, and it won’t be the best time to hit the grocery store either.
Once you have assured the safety of your own family and home, check your neighbors to confirm they are safe and injury free. Especially in Niguel Shores, this is a family community and protecting one another is important.
OK, I will rest better if you put this on your TO DO resolutions for the short term—and you will, too.
P.S. Also pull the DAMAGE CONTROL flyer included in this issue of the Seashore News and put it on your bulletin board.

—Kent Wellbrock

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