Planning for an emergency - week 2

Taking the responsibility of being prepared for an emergency can be a daunting task. Last week we introduced a different way of addressing the issue of preparedness. Rather than 'get ready' all at once, why not commit to being ready in five months (roughly 20 weeks) and do a little each week?While preparing for this weeks column I spoke with a Red Cross worker who mentioned a term that I hadn't heard for some time. She mentioned she was a member of the 'sandwich generation'. Not the peanut butter and jelly type but the group of people who find themselves caring for those who are older (usually parents) and those who are younger (usually their children). In many ways, almost all of us are a member of the sandwich generation. Nearly all of us have an elder who can be more prepared if we assist them. The same can be said for the younger generation. Suppose we don't have an elder or a youngster in our house, what about our neighbors? Many times we 'keep an eye' on our neighbor's households when they are away or watch their children while they run an errand. How about our co-workers? If those near us are not prepared for a problem, they could become an additional part of the problem after an earthquake strikes. It is best to give this issue some thought, now, rather than be surprised later. First issue…. How did we do with our week #1 objectives? •did we embrace the concept of preparedness and communicate our intentions of improving our preparedness with those we live and work with? •did we find the time to make a place for emergency supplies in our living and working places? •did we have the time and resources to obtain the recommended supplies? •did we take the time to learn more about basic first-aid (or at least look for some information on first-aid)? Objectives for week #2…… If any of the questions above need action, please begin to take steps to address them. Assess the specialized needs of your household, family, neighborhood and workplace. Should a disaster occur and you find yourself without the items you rely on, what will it take to maintain your day-to-day lives. Develop a list of the supplies or services you will need to fill those needs. What does this mean? Beyond food and water, what other items are necessary ? Are there children in the house that need diapers or special foods ? Do people in your household need daily medications? Are there dependent parents or elders in the house or neighborhood? What about pets? How about eye glasses? Obtain the following: -heavy cotton or hemp rope. This can be used for lots of actions after a disaster -duct tape. Are there many items that have more uses? -Flashlights with batteries. Recommend two, at least, keep the batteries next to the flashlight if you don't use the flashlight all the time. Obviously helpful in most any emergency. -matches in a waterproof container. Could be wooden matches, a couple of packs of matches in a zip-lock bag or something more sophisticated. -pet leash and carrier in easy access location. -one item from the special needs list developed from Objective #2. Could be diapers, eye glasses, medications, over the counter medications like aspirin, etc. Whatever you obtain, it will be the first step towards addressing your specialized needs. Other things to consider…the flashlights noted above could be the power-station type that don't require batteries. These units are readily available and some even charge cell phones. You will need to crank them like a fishing reel or squeeze them like a hand gripper, but they work and they are dependable. If you have questions or comments about preparedness or this column, please e-mail me at: ready@downeyca.org. Mark Sauter is deputy city manager in charge of emergency preparedness for the city of Downey.

********** Published: April 2, 2010 - Volume 8 - Issue 50