Have you ever watched TV helplessly while a disaster strikes the community where your loved ones and friends live? You hope they’re alright. But when you try to phone, the lines are tied up. What if you are in the disaster zone? How do you stay connected in a disaster?
During emergencies, you can’t rely on fast access to telephones. Emergency workers are using the phone lines. And so many people are trying to connect with loved ones.
Mills-Peninsula’s regional emergency preparedness experts, Deborah Tauscher and Jim Schweikhard, have an important tip for you: Turn to Safe and Well, an easy-to-use website created by the American Red Cross for people affected by disasters, and others searching for news about them. Read More about Tips to Stay Connected in a Disaster
When we think about preparing for a disaster — gathering an emergency kit, food, water and other supplies — most of us think about preparations for our home. But it’s wise to also prepare your vehicle for an emergency. To make sure your car is ready in an emergency, follow these tips from Deborah Tauscher, emergency preparedness coordinator at Mills-Peninsula, and Jim Schweikhard, health and safety manager for Sutter Health’s Peninsula Coastal Region.
Don’t Run on Empty
Did you know that disaster preparedness experts recommend never letting your vehicle’s fuel dip below half tank? Many of us let our vehicles run until the gas tank in nearly empty. But in the case of a disaster, you may be forced to evacuate the area at a moment’s notice. In the panic of a mass exodus, finding an operational gas station without long lines could delay your exit from the area and put you in harm’s way.
Get a Vehicle Emergency Kit
Vehicle emergency/safety kits should not only contain safety items for the vehicle, but also a change of clothes, water poncho and comfortable, sturdy shoes. You can purchase pre-assembled vehicle safety kits that contain emergency lighting (flashlight with extra batteries or warning lights), jumper cables, reflector triangle, flares, tire gauge, foam tire sealant and “help” signs. Remember to familiarize yourself with these items before an emergency strikes.
Maps and Extra Supplies
Although satellite-powered GPS devices are common nowadays in cars, they may be inoperable in an emergency. Always keep an old-fashioned paper map in the glove compartment, along with a print out of all your emergency phone numbers, including a roadside assistance number. Other handy emergency supplies for your vehicle include: cell phone and charger, a first aid kit, sun block, lip balm, tissues, wet wipes (rotate regularly they will dry out), paper towels, gloves (vinyl and work), duct tape, a space blanket, drinking water (rotate frequently), whistle, tow rope, auto spot light and non-perishable snacks. Another handy addition is a multi-tool, such as a Swiss Army knife, which includes a knife, screwdriver and scissors.
Keep Up Basic Maintenance
Just like keeping your tank filled, basic vehicle upkeep will help to avoid the Murphy’s Law of “anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.” Don’t get caught with bald and improperly inflated tires, old wiper blades, burned out tail lights or headlights. Neglected car maintenance can put us at risk on the best of days, not to mention when disaster strikes. Stay safe in the day-to-day as well as when the unexpected occurs.
Enjoy the ride!
Are you a pet lover and owner? If yes, you are probably saddened by stories of animals left behind in a disaster and others that are lost, never to be found. Disasters are stressful times and the loss of a beloved pet only increases anxiety. If you have pets, create an emergency plan that meets the needs of your furry family members, too. For example, don’t forget to include pet food and additional water in your disaster kits as well as any medications your critters might need.
Follow these tips from Deborah Tauscher, emergency preparedness coordinator at Mills-Peninsula, to keep all your family members in mind in the case of a disaster, even the feathered, furry and scaly ones. Read More about Keep Furry Friends Safe – Pet Emergency Preparedness
Still pondering your New Year’s resolution for 2013? If you need some inspiration, you might consider resolving to be more prepared for emergencies in 2013. A good place to start is at home, going room by room to identify and correct potential home hazards, according to Deborah Tauscher, emergency preparedness coordinator at Mills-Peninsula.
Secure it or move it
Have you fastened your furniture properly to walls? Tall furniture, mirrors, televisions, pictures and book cases are all vulnerable in an earthquake. Remember, do not hang mirrors or pictures over your bed. Relocate these items to safer locations. Read More about Correcting Home Hazards – a Good Step in Emergency Prep
If you’re a friend or family member of Mills-Peninsula emergency preparedness coordinator Deborah Tauscher, you may find emergency granola bars, a flashlight, whistle or museum putty to secure TVs and bookcases in your stocking.
“These may not seem like traditional holiday offerings but gifts to help your loved ones prepare for emergencies and disasters can be much appreciated,” says Tauscher. “This year instead of getting another tie for dad or sweater for mom – theme your gifts around emergency preparedness to show how much you care.”
Here’s a list of top gift items that will help keep your loved ones safe if disaster strikes:
- LED flashlight: choose the gift of bright light to replace those ancient flashlights that dim when you turn them on.
- Well-stocked first aid kit: to replace the old one with expired items and missing supplies.
- Sleeping bag, camping gear and roadside emergency kits: these gifts have many other uses but are also emergency and safety preparedness essentials.
- Your gift of time: offer to help a family member scan cherished photos and other important documents onto a thumb drive that can be stored in the family disaster kit.
“If you are at a loss as to what to get for family or friends this holiday season, you don’t need to be,” says Tauscher. “Give the gift of emergency preparedness wrapped up with a bow!”
For more preparedness tips, see our monthly series of blog posts on disaster preparedness.
If an earthquake strikes in the middle of the night or some other disaster forces you from the warmth of your home, you will be grateful for a prepared stash of clothing and warm bedding that’s easy to grab on the way out, says Deborah Tauscher, emergency preparedness coordinator at Mills-Peninsula.
It’s a great idea to put your clothing stash in a “grab and go” bag that you can store under the bed, so it is easy to find in the middle of the night. Read More about Prepare Clothing, Bedding for a Quick Exit in Emergency