When disaster strikes, it might come in various forms. Fires and storms may require evacuation, and you will probably know when they are coming. Earthquakes just happen with no warning. You might wake up in the middle of the night to a great roaring shake accompanied by shattering glass all through your house. You might be miles away from home. Other disasters like chemical spills or terrorist attacks will call for different appropriate responses.
Let's focus on the two largest concerns in our area, fire or flood requiring evacuation, and earthquake. We will assume you have already taken all of the basic preparedness steps we recommend here. Your have emergency plans. You have emergency supplies and evacuation go-bags. You are prepared. Now a disaster unfolds. What steps do you take?
There are things you can do to make an evacuation much easier. Have a plan. Keep a go-bag ready with supplies. Know your evacuation routes.
There are things you can do when you think an evacuation might come soon. make sure you have a full tank of gas in your car. Load your emergency supplies. Keep your pets indoors so you don't have to look for them at the last moment, or even leave them behind. Put a ladder against your roof so firefighters and other emergency responders will have easy access when you are evacuated. Park your car heading out the drive, and open your gate if you have one.
There are things you need to do when it is time to evacuate. "Rule 1 of Evacuation" is, if you think it might be time to evacuate, evacuate. Don't wait to be told. Leave early and spend a few days with your relatives or friends, where it's safe. Follow the recommended evacuation route, which will be given over SMCAlert; shortcuts could lead to trouble. Stay calm. And be familiar with all of the ways in, out, and around your neighborhood. It's easy to do if you just break the habit of following the same route every time. Take "the other way" sometimes. Maybe look on a map to see if there is "yet another way out." And remember, the alert might say for some specific neighborhood to evacuate to some specific shelter, or it may just say that everybody from Woodside to the top of SkyLine needs to leave the area and head North.
Learn more about Evacuation...
Earthquakes come with no warning. Your day is going along like any other day, and then, only a few minutes later, you have survived a major earthquake. Power is out, traffic lights are off. Radio, television, cellular and internet services are gone. For the next few days at least, you will be involved with trying to get your life back together as normal services are being restored. You might have to deal with damage to your home. You might have to deal with injuries. Police, ambulance and firefighting resources might be unavailable because they have been completely overwhelmed.
How will you manage these days? They will go much more easily if you are prepared for the possibility of earthquake. Having a plan to get back in touch with your family, having basic emergency supplies and equipment, and knowing some basics of preparedness will save a you headaches, costs, and maybe a life.
Here are the basics: It starts with you. Make sure you are OK. Treat your own injuries. Put on protective clothing. Then check your family and home. Then check your immediate neighbors and their homes. Then check the rest of your neighborhood, and so forth. If you have taken CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training, or even if you have not, you can check in with the nearest regional WPV-CERT team to help with the "next level" of response. CERTs are trained to work together to do things like moving injured people, lifting heavy objects from trapped victims, and coordinating more advanced medical response options than you are likely to have in a First Aid kit.
Learn more about CERT...
Visit the WPV-CERT site...
The best way to get started is with our "Basics of Personal and Neighborhood Preparedness" class. And just become part of the preparedness community. Start small by coming to an event and asking questions. Take little steps, but keep taking steps. WPV-Ready is here to help you build knowledge and skills to better survive an earthquake, or any other disaster. We offer classes and consulting to individuals and neighborhoods.
Learn more about classes...