Planning for an emergency - Week 6

DOWNEY - We all know last Sunday was Mother's Day. We should all be thankful for mothers. Who can forget their mom yelling to 'remember a jacket', or to take our lunch to school or to clean up a scraped knee and cover it with a bandage?Of course all of the above items were made or found in the house, stored and ready for use. And Mom knew exactly where they were kept. When you think about it, Moms are some of the most thoughtful and dedicated emergency planners we know. This week, let's keep our preparedness efforts simple and stay with our three main themes: obtain supplies, learn or confirm a skill and make an improvement to our emergency plan. We all need a first aid kit at home, in our vehicle and at our workplace. Kits can be purchased or assembled in many ways. One important point about a first aid kit is the patients it will serve. If there are children in the house or the neighborhood, give consideration to the size of the bandages and splints. No 'sting' sprays and ointments may be really appreciated as well. Remember, recovering from a disaster is challenging enough, we don't need to add to the stress with adult-size 'fixes' to child-size problems. Seniors also may require some specialization as their skin is sometimes very fragile. First aid kits and products may also be available at non-traditional stores such as the discount shops and hardware stores. Splints can be made of cardboard or similar products that are readily found in our homes or places of business. The key is to plan ahead; don't wait for an emergency to happen to start looking for splinting material. And don't forget to buy a couple pairs of latex gloves to keep with your kits. This week, let's look for the utility shut-offs for our homes and businesses. Locating the electrical panel is normally easy on most homes. However, it takes a little detective work to find the proper panel in an apartment or condominium. Once the electrical panel is located, learn how to turn-off the individual circuit breakers. Next, learn the location of the natural gas meter and have a wrench to close the supply valve. Finally, look for the water shut-off. Water valves are usually just outside your house and in a direct line between your home and the street. In future articles we will address the exercising you can do with the various valves and shut-offs. Even if you are not the one who will physically shut-off the utilities, knowing the location of each valve and panel will save time and effort for those who are assisting you. For this week's emergency planning work, do some research (if you haven't already) into the emergency practices of your children's school or day care center. If an emergency were to occur when your child was at school, do the school administrators have the proper emergency contact information for you? Do you have the emergency contact information for the school? How about a cell number of anyone at the school who may be able to send or receive a text message? What is your role as the parent? What about some basic supplies for your child like water and a small amount of food? Most schools are very responsible but it's important for you to understand their plan. Knowing this information will also give you piece of mind if you are separated from your child during an earthquake. If you have any questions or comments regarding emergency preparedness, please let me know…I can be reached at Mark Sauter is deputy city manager for the city of Downey in charge of emergency preparedness.

********** Published: May 14, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 4