The current heatwave in Los Angeles has nervous Angelenos talking about “earthquake weather,” but geologists agree there is no such thing. While the myth that hot spells cause tremors is bunk, the awareness of the possibility of earthquakes is a good thing, as families can use this consciousness as a reason to put together an emergency preparedness plan and kit.
Your family should make a plan of two places to meet in case of an earthquake or other emergency. One place should be right outside the home, and the other should be outside the neighborhood. If you need to evacuate, have a route planned to a relative’s, hotel or community shelter.
Identify age-appropriate responsibilities for each family member, such as taking care of pets and retrieving supplies. American Red Cross recommends that at least one family member be certified in CPR. Have young children attend an emergency preparedness class, or organize one at their school, so that they will learn how to handle themselves in an emergency.
Identify an out-of-state person to call to notify that you are safe, as sometimes local lines get jammed during emergencies. If the Internet is accessible, you can go to The American Red Cross’ Safe and Well website to let others know you are okay. Save emergency numbers on your phone for easy access.
Practice your route and review your plan at least once a year.
Keep an emergency supply kit, and let everyone in the family knows where it is kept. Information is one of the most valuable assets in an emergency, so be equipped with a radio. Many emergency kits and batteries get outdated, so be safe with a crank radio, such as the Midland ER200 Emergency Crank Wx Radio ($59.99), in case all other sources of power fail. Your emergency kit should also include these basic items:
· Extra batteries
· First aid kit
· Water and Non-Perishable Food – Include can opener
· Cell phones and chargers
· Prescription medications
· Important family documents
· Sleeping bags or warm blankets
· Extra clothing – Including sturdy shoes
· Special needs items – glasses, oxygen tanks, infant formula, diapers, pet food
· Multi-purpose tool
· Matches – store in waterproof container
For additional information visit www.ready.gov, www.redcross.org and www.nws.noaa.gov/nwr.