Be Ready for the Next Disaster – September is National Preparedness Month

August 31, 2014 · 18 comments

September is National Preparedness Month, reminding us that natural calamities may strike at any moment, as the recent American Canyon earthquake has shown. These disasters are often unannounced, and preparation in advance can help increase your chances of survival as well as how quickly you and your family can recover.

National Preparedness Month is a great reminder to check the batteries in your flashlights, go over your family emergency plan and to make sure you have adequate insurance coverage,” said Cynthia Harris, AAA Northern California spokesperson.

Disaster Preparedness Tips

  • Keep emergency and first aid kits in your home. These should include a battery-powered or hand-cranked radio, extra batteries, a flashlight, a can opener, needed medicines or prescriptions and a three-day supply of nonperishable food and water (one gallon per person, per day).
  • Keep similar supplies in your car. For an emergency, as well as flares, keep comfortable shoes and a backpack in the trunk of your care in case you have to search for help on foot.
  • Prepare a family emergency plan.  Outline what each family will do, how they will get to a safe place, and how they will get in touch with each other.
  • Identify an out-of-the-area contacts. Everyone needs a list to call in case local communications are disrupted.
  • Don’t forget your pet(s). Make sure you have supplies for them. Consider micro-chipping your dog and/or cat so if you’re separated they can be easily identified.
  • Have cash and copies of your most important papers. Keep ID, insurance documents handy in case you need to evacuate quickly.
  • Create a home inventory. List all the possessions you would want your insurance company to replace, if lost, and put copies in safe places. A home inventory includes taking video or photos of all those possessions and pulling together copies of sales receipts and other documentation. Safe places to store these copies include online, with friends or family or in a safe deposit box.
  • Take CPR and first aid training. Your local chapter of the American Red Cross, fire department or similar organization offers these courses. The knowledge you gain could help save the life of a family member or a neighbor injured during a disaster.

Proper preparation can also help ease the devastating impacts left by an earthquake,” Harris said. “As the American Canyon earthquake has taught us, our lives can be changed in an instant. Some simple, advanced planning can help aide with the recovery process.”

AAA Earthquake Safety Tips

  • Create an earthquake survival kit. This is one of the most important steps you can take. The kit should include canned goods and a can opener, two to four quarts of water per person per day, battery operated or hand crank radio, sanitary supplies, a camp stove, portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries, and tools to turn off utilities.
  • Know how to shut off your home’s gas, water and electricity. You should also make sure your water heater is securely fastened to a wall or post with two metal straps.
  • Secure heavy furniture. Heavy items like bookshelves or TVs should be secured to a wall so they don’t fall over during a strong earthquake.
  • Conduct family earthquake drills. Make sure everyone knows which areas in a room are the safest. This may be underneath a table or against a wall. Stay away from windows, fireplaces, and tall furniture.
  • Decide where your family will reunite if you’re separated. Choose a friend or relative you can call after an earthquake to let them know your location and condition. Phone lines are often overloaded or damaged in an earthquake, and specifying one point of contact for your entire family will help avoid a strain on the system.
  • Childproof your cabinet doors. It may seem like an annoyance initially, but installing latches on your cabinet doors can prevent them from flying open in an earthquake. By properly securing the doors you can keep precious belongings from spilling out and breaking.
  • Check your insurance for earthquake coverage. Knowing what coverage you have can help speed up your recovery after a big quake. Most homeowner’s policies do NOT cover damage resulting from an earthquake, and in most cases a separate earthquake policy is needed. You can find out more at AAA.com/insurance.
1 Antler August 31, 2014 at 8:07 PM

One of the many times I wish I could hit SHARE and pass Claycord information along…..excellent!

2 SKS August 31, 2014 at 9:12 PM

It’s been a long-running, slow motion, in-progress disaster since Obama was elected.

3 Barney Rubble August 31, 2014 at 9:46 PM

When it strikes you will not be able to get to any of your belongings.
You will be buried under rubble.

4 Yep, that Obama started it all, by going into Iraq and Afghanistan August 31, 2014 at 10:16 PM

oh wait, that was the other guy, with the Vice President who shot his hunting partner in the face.

5 Teacher Wannabe August 31, 2014 at 10:17 PM

@SKS. Kinda hard to stop the crack Reagan/Bush 1 & 2 started.

6 Dawg August 31, 2014 at 10:44 PM

I’ll probably die of old age first.

7 KenInConcord August 31, 2014 at 10:48 PM

I thought the president was going hold another news conference.

8 Find Waldo August 31, 2014 at 11:26 PM

And don’t forget to prepare for “man-caused disasters”, which is Obama speak for terrorism:

http://fox5sandiego.com/2014/08/29/homeland-security-warns-isis-attack-on-united-states-border-is-possibility/

9 Shelly September 1, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Dawg, You and lots of us want to hope we die of old age first. It’s a damn good idea to be as prepared as we can be. The life we save may be our own. Or someone else’s.

10 cmon? September 1, 2014 at 8:31 AM

In the trunk of YOUR CARE? really? In your car, what r u doing tryin to scare people, get the facts RIGHT!,we take our own consideration

11 HaterLover September 1, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Recent history suggests a white police officer is going to accidentally kill another aspiring cRapper and the local youth resulting in the next disaster.

12 Lari September 1, 2014 at 10:08 AM

When we bought our house in 2008, the home inspector recommended an automatic seismic shut-off valve for our gas meter. He said it required permits, etc. and was about $300. I meant to do it, as I felt it was a good idea in case we’re not home during an emergency. But there were lots of other bills then and I forgot. The Napa quake got me thinking again and now, this article. Going to start making calls. Do any of my fellow Claycordians have one of these? Any vendor recommendations (have to be certified/approved by state).

13 It's all about priorities. September 1, 2014 at 10:52 AM

What are your priorities? A $400 a month cable bill when $200 would be fine? A brand new car when a good used car would be great? $50 a week at a coffee shop when the same coffee can be brewed at home for $50 a month?

What is most important to you? The safety, health and wellbeing of you and your family or meaningless creature comforts?

The choice is yours.

14 Concord Mike September 1, 2014 at 11:07 AM

@Lari,

Save the cost of auto shut off. Just put a small wrench next to the gas meter and ask your neighbors to do the same. Agree with your neighbor to shut off each others gas in case one of you is not home at the time of the big earthquake. Also take a look at your new PGE smart meter. You can easily tell if someone has a leak without even going into the house. Is the smallest increment dial moving at all over the period of a minute or two? If not you are ok and don’t have to shut off the main.

15 Brian September 1, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Smoke in the valley????

curry canyon? I’ve been told but no verification.

16 Lari September 1, 2014 at 11:44 AM

@Concord Mike: thanks for the tips. I will talk to the neighbors.

17 Kirk September 1, 2014 at 12:10 PM

They forgot, “have guns and ammo, and know how to use them.”

Not trying to turn this into a Rambo conversation, but guns are legal to own and do come in handy. If you are not comfortable with firearms cans of bear spray will be better than nothing although you do have the risk of overspray.

I built a solid supply of gear for $150 a month, I could stay in my home or similar shelter for 2 months without relying on FEMA. Like the above poster says though, “if your house is rubble” you had better have multiple caches of gear.

Team up with neighbors and friends, look out for the elderly. Plan well, train, and keep a positive attitude and it will be a neighborhood camping trip not a trip to the dark ages.

And the politics? Please… In emergency situations you are no more helpful the the homeless guy who is angry at the Carthaginians for their trade policies with the western Empire.

18 Rollo Tomasi September 1, 2014 at 1:43 PM

@ Kirk:

“They forgot, “have guns and ammo, and know how to use them.””

I thought of that as soon as this article was posted, but didn’t want to risk attracting the lunatics from the politics thread.

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