We had intended on posting a disaster preparedness article in September as it is Emergency Preparedness Month. However, in light of the recent earthquake in Napa, we wanted to get a few quick highlights about earthquake preparedness in particular out to you.
The Napa quake was the largest in the Bay Area since Loma Prieta in 1989. We Californians haven’t had a major quake in the state since the Northridge quake in 1994.
After a long hiatus, it’s time for a refresher course on how we can all prepare for earthquakes. The four main steps you need to follow when preparing for disasters are:
- Get a Kit.
- Make a Plan.
- Be Informed.
- Get Involved.
Today we’re just going to focus on putting together a kit and making a plan.
Your kit is made up of medical supplies, food and water, pet supplies, and other things. After a major earthquake, phones, cell phone towers, water, gas and electricity could be out for a few days, if not longer. Think about everything you would need to survive comfortably during that time.
What should be in your kit?
The Red Cross recommends:
- 2 absorbent compress dressings (5 x 9 inches)
- 25 adhesive bandages (assorted sizes)
- 1 adhesive cloth tape (10 yards x 1 inch)
- 5 antibiotic ointment packets (approximately 1 gram)
- 5 antiseptic wipe packets
- 2 packets of aspirin (81 mg each)
- 1 blanket (space blanket)
- 1 breathing barrier (with one-way valve)
- 1 instant cold compress
- 2 pair of nonlatex gloves (size: large)
- 2 hydrocortisone ointment packets (approximately 1 gram each)
- 1 roller bandage (3 inches wide)
- 1 roller bandage (4 inches wide)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (3 x 3 inches)
- 5 sterile gauze pads (4 x 4 inches)
- Oral thermometer (non-mercury/nonglass)
- 2 triangular bandages
- First aid instruction booklet
You should also have at least a few days’ supply of your prescriptions, pain killers, and any other over-the-counter remedies you use on a regular basis.
Food and Water
Red Cross recommends having food and water for three days, and having three gallons of water per person. That doesn’t include cooking water. It doesn’t hurt to have additional water on hand for that purpose.
Unless you use your gas grill or charcoal barbecue (in which case, have extra canisters or bags on hand), you’ll be eating cold food. If you camp, ensure you have extra containers for your camp stove. And never, ever use it indoors. The carbon monoxide fumes are deadly.
Having a supply of canned beans is always a good go-to meal. Just be certain you have a usable manual can opener.
If you have to go to a shelter, you won’t be able to bring your pet with you. However, in times of emergency, there are organizations that set up shelters for pets. You will want to have food and water for each of your pets. Additionally, you’ll need a secure leash or traveling container.
Keep an old fashioned plug-in-the-wall phone even if you’ve switched to internet phone. Your cable or fiber may well be knocked out and would stay that way as long as your electricity is out. You will want to be able to make a phone call in case of an emergency. Some people even keep a landline just in case.
Have extra batteries for flashlights and radios. There are special battery packs for tablets and phones, so keep a supply on hand of those as well. You can also look into solar powered chargers for your phone.
Keep a supply of cleaning wipes around. You can get some heavy duty ones from backpacking stores. You’ll want to keep your water for cooking and drinking.
If the weather gets cold in your area, make sure you have extra blankets available.
Making a Plan
Have a central point of contact with someone in another city or state. If a disaster strikes, everyone should contact that individual and let them know what’s going on. Then that contact can help organize who needs help, and where everyone is, as well as be a good source of news since local broadcasting may be unavailable.