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Unfortunately, emergencies like wildfires, storms and earthquakes are a reality for southern California families. But just because we have to live under the constant threat of these natural disasters doesn't mean we have to be helpless.
Knowing what to do when one occurs and what to do before it happens can make a big difference in your safety and maybe even save your life. Being prepared for emergencies means having a written plan as well as supplies. Developing a written plan provides a systematic and repeatable approach to emergencies, meaning your family will know exactly what to do in order to stay safe should disaster strike.
Your plan should be tailored to meet your specific situation, such as preparing for elderly and disabled family members as well as pets. Your plan should be reviewed and updated annually.
Here are a few things to consider when making a plan:
- Identify two places for the family to meet: One outside your home, the other away from your neighborhood in case you can't return home.
- Practice the plan with your family, including your children.
- Review the emergency plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center and other places where members of your family regularly spend time away from home.
- Plan safe routes away from your home and business to high, safe ground. Make sure your children are aware of the routes away from home.
- Develop a plan for family pets (evacuation shelters may not allow animals).
- Designate a friend outside the area who family members can call if separated
- Keep current important documents in a safe-deposit box like birth certificates, passports, insurance policies, personal phone and address book, tax returns and school and vaccination records.
You will also need supplies during an emergency. Since you won't have time to go shopping during an earthquake or storm, it's important that you have essentials on hand at all times, periodically making sure they are fresh and in good working order. Also, be sure to store them in durable, waterproof cases like backpacks or plastic tubs. Here are some of the basics you should have on hand.
- Three-day supply of bottled water (one gallon per person per day)
- A three-day supply of packaged, dried, and canned food
- First aid kit and essential medicines
- Pet food and pet carrier
- Manual can opener
- Portable radio and flashlights with spare batteries in waterproof bags
- An extra set of car keys
- Cash and credit cards
- Special items for infants, elderly or disabled family members
These are just a few tips to get you started. For a comprehensive guide on how to best prepare your families for potential natural disasters and evacuation situations, visit SDG&E® to download one of their free Emergency Checklists.