Planning for an emergency: Week #7

The weather this spring has been interesting. Warm and dry, cool and damp, I am not sure when summer will begin. But it will definitely be warm in the near future. We usually get a hot spell before the June gloom sets in; are you ready for a series of warm days?What does being ready for warm days mean? Do all of your windows operate as they should? Can you use them as an emergency escape route? Besides being a great avenue for low cost 'air conditioning' they are very important if an emergency situation like a fire occurs inside your home. Have an air conditioning system? Know how to shut it off if it malfunctions? There should be an electrical breaker system for the compressor/fan unit. Can you shut down the air conditioner at your neighbor's house? Some of your appliances will be forced to work a little harder during the heat of the summer. Are they in good working order? It's surprising how much cooling you can get from a small electrical fan. This week let's add a few more items to our food cache. When you go shopping, pick up a can of fruit, a can of ready-to-eat soup and a can of vegetables for each family member. When we return from the store, let's remember to write the purchase date on the cans with the marker we purchased several weeks ago. Let's also add a small sewing kit to our emergency supply inventory. Finally, check that first-aid kit you put together last week and be sure it has a supply of disinfectant. If it doesn't, please be sure you obtain some. Is there a chance you could have children in your home when an emergency strikes? Do you have the necessary supplies to provide for them for three days? Grandparents typically have a few games and activities for their grandchildren, but what about a special supply of food and clothing? Parents typically bring enough supplies for the time period they plan to be away, but what happens if they are separated for a longer period of time? Is there a need for any special medications or prescriptions? For this week's planning work, think about emergency contacts and information. Establish an out-of-state phone number to use as a primary point of contact for your family after a disaster happens. Be sure everyone in the family has the number and knows what to do with it. Then be sure the out-of-state contact knows what you expect from them. Should a disaster occur in the L.A. area, that person should be sure to be available for messages. Locally, is there someone on your street who can check on you immediately after an emergency? If you are able to take care of yourself, can you check on a few of your neighbors? Looking out and planning for yourself and your family is a key tenet of emergency preparedness. Looking out for your neighbors and co-workers is the next level of preparedness. Being familiar with the appropriate emergency actions will reduce the stress experienced during and immediately after an emergency occurs. Mark Sauter is deputy city manager in charge of emergency preparedness for the city of Downey. He can be reached by e-mailing

********** Published: May 21, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 5