Recent and serious earthquakes – Chile and Haiti come to mind – produced more than just shaking… they produced wake-up calls to the rest of us.
Sometime in the future we will be directly affected.
Sometime in the future we will be directly affected.
To our real estate friends – whether you own or rent – there are a few things to consider.
The question is:
Right now – today – start thinking EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS.
In that next big one, your home may no longer be your home.
It could very well be just a pile of debris.
You may be living in the woods or a field or an alley.
There are any number of excellent websites and publications that describe in great detail just how you can be prepared and, as this website develops and grows, we’ll list a few for you. (see below for just a start).
But, to get you thinking about what you should be doing – and then acting upon it all – here’s a simple starter for preparedness:
Put together your emergency kit now –
Have an evacuation plan, designate a meeting place for all members of your family, give copies of important papers to family or friends NOT in your area… and store your emergency kit outside your home in a shed or in an outside corner of your garage where, even if the buildings collapse, you might be able to access it.
When disaster hits, emergency personnel - police, fire, medical - will be overwhelmed and it may be days before help arrives. It may be days or weeks before utilities are restored - power, phone, water and sewage. Roads may be closed or impassable with fallen trees, power and phone lines down, landslides, or bridges destroyed (and we have a lot of them).
Mendocino Coast District Hospital in Fort Bragg is a 25-bed hospital with an Emergency Room, but it, too, will likely be overwhelmed. Doctors and Nurses may not be able to, themselves, reach the hospital for some time because of impassable roads, and ambulances may not be able to reach outlying areas. It is essential that your emergency kit should contain first aid supplies and an extra supply of any needed drugs or medicine.
It may be many hours or days before we are able to reach our homes or even to communicate with other family members. Children or elderly or infirm family members may be at home alone. Any of us may experience serious injury or death. Prepare a plan now for that emergency when all contact is lost between family members. Designate primary and secondary meeting places. Let neighbors or friends know how to reach you in an emergency. Provide each family member with contact names and, when possible, contacts for designated family members or friends living outside of the emergency area to leave messages. Each member of the family should know the contact names and how to reach them so that messages can be left or picked up. Even if phone lines are down, it may be possible to pass on a message through the Red Cross, a ham radio operator, or through an Emergency Response Team.
Each family member should be thoroughly familiar with the procedures of turning off utilities - gas, electric and water - and where the shut-off valves or switches are located and how to turn it off. Know where the electric panel is located and which switches to turn off; keep a wrench or pliers handy to help in turning off the gas or propane at the tank, or for shutting off the water main.
EMERGENCY KIT - FOOD & WATER: You will need at least one gallon of water per day for each member of your family for drinking, food preparation and hygiene. Store enough for a period of at least a week or two. For a family of 4, therefore, (doing the math) store 28-56 gallons. Food-grade water containers are available - try camping supply stores. If you are using well water, add 2 drops of (non-scented) chlorine bleach to each gallon. If you are using water from a treated water system, additional chlorine is not needed. Write the date on the bottle and replace it every 6 mnths.
For food, store canned or sealed-container items, such as fruit, vegetables, peanut butter, jam, low-salt crackers, cookies, cereals, nuts, dried fruit, canned soup or meats, juices and non-fat dry milk). Other foods: dried corn, soybeans, white rice, dry pasta, bouillon, salt, vegatable oil, baking powder, coffee, tea, cocoa (instant is best), soft drinks (non-carbonated), powdered milk, crackers, dried fruit, potatoes... and don't forget baby food or formula... and for the pets, dried and canned food. Remember that food items, other than canned, should be stored in a vermin-proof container.
MISCELANEOUS ITEMS FOR YOUR EMERGENCY KIT:
An emergency radio is a needed item in your kit. There are many outlets for these radios... here's just one at Amazon. It's a hand-cranked + solar powered AM/FM radio with a built-in flashlight and a cell-phone charger. This one is $30 and there are a number of others to be found on Google.
Now, go on and read whatever you can get your hands on. Here’s something to get you started:
One of the best websites re preparedness is from the City and County of San Francisco. Click HERE
And here's the site from FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
There are a number of retail outlets offering versions of emergency kits. While we don't necessarily endorse any particular supplier, you might check out some on your own. Just Google for Emergency Preparedness. Here's one that we found on-line. Check it out... it will at least give you an idea of what is available to suit your particular needs... go HERE.
Some people lean towards Freeze-dried foods rather than the canned variety. Freeze-dried food manufacturers have a great variety of different foods and taste-testing samples indicate flavorful and nutricious meals. It's important to know that "shelf-life" for freeze-dried products is from 7 to 25 years - that's right, years. There are a number of producers/suppliers to be found by Googleing for "freeze-dried foods" or "emergency preparations". No indorsement, but here's one I found - Mountain House.
If you're interested in knowing more about State and Local government for Emergency Preparedness, Mendocino County has prepared the Emergency Operations Plan. It's long at 233 pages, but worth your while to skim through the detailed information.
Now that you are prepared for the worst - you are, aren't you? - give a thought to your neighbors and friends. Encourage them to be prepared for emergencies. And when the emergency happens, once you've seen to your own safety, check on your neighbors to see what help they might need, medical or otherwise.
We'll add more as time allows and as we find it. If you find it first, send an email with the link to firstname.lastname@example.org