Planning for an Emergency… Week 10

Well here we are, it's Dads and Grads weekend. It's amazing how fast time goes by and how things change. Another outstanding group of young people are moving-on to the next step of their lives. For Dads, this also means their teachings may soon be tested. Last month I wrote about Moms being some of the earliest emergency preparedness planners. We would be remiss if we didn't add dads to the early emergency preparedness planner list as well.It is true that dads may not be alone in influencing us to bring our jackets and encouraging us to pack emergency supplies. However it is true that Dads are generally the experts for checking things on our cars and around the house. Where would we be if someone didn't check the oil, coolant and brake fluid in the car (or train us to do this)? How about exercising the main water shut-off for our house or checking the roof before winter hits us with lots of rain? What about keeping a supply of camping equipment? Again, this is usually a task that falls on dad's shoulders. Certainly there are exceptions to this. But many believe dads show their love for their families by performing the mundane service work on the cars and houses. This 'show the love' theme is a good one for emergency preparedness. I recently listened to a speaker who opined many in our society are not motivated by fear ( i.e. earthquakes and other disasters). Instead, the good speaker noted that the love of others is an important motivator as well. So this week when we are following through with our emergency preparedness efforts, let's consider the message we are sending. We prepare our families and workplaces for emergencies so we can 'prosper' after an emergency. Prosper, in this sense, means to 'succeed' in our recovery. What better way to show you care than to help someone or a family be more prepared for an emergency? By the way, emergency preparedness supplies make great gifts for dads and grads. Almost everyone can use an emergency supply car-pack or a hand-crank radio, budget permitting. This week let's continue our preparedness strategy. Let's focus on obtaining supplies, developing our emergency plans and learning more about our local hazards. This week let's buy or obtain the following supplies: •one large can of juice per person •two (2) rolls of toilet paper per person •one large box of plastic food bags •one box of quick-energy snacks •one medicine dropper (good for treating water) For planning purposes, locate two nearby pay phones and store a supply of quarters for emergency phone calls at home, in your car and at work. These days, payphones are not as easy to find. Be sure your family knows where the payphones are located and, of course, how to use them. With so many young people having cell phones now, many may not consider payphones as a means of communication. You may also need a hard-copy list of contact numbers for your family and colleagues at work. Don't forget to have an out of state phone number and contact person listed as well. Keeping with the phone theme, if you don't already know how to text message with your cell phone, you should learn how to send and receive messages. Immediately after an emergency the 'hard-wire' phone system is typically impacted. Frequently the problem is caused by the large number of people who want to call someone and talk about the emergency. While it's natural to want to 'share' experiences and to check on others, the best use of the phone system after an emergency is to leave it alone unless you are reporting an emergency. Take the time, immediately after an emergency, and check on your family, co-workers and the structures around you. If you find a problem, see if you can address it immediately. This is where our preparedness efforts really pay off. Consider using text messages to contact others as these messages frequently get through the cell phone system when voice communications are not yet functioning properly. Be safe out there…Questions or comments can be sent to Mark Sauter is deputy city manager in charge of emergency preparedness for the city of Downey.

********** Published: June 17, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 9