Saturday, November 21, 2009

Are You Prepared for the Next Big One?

Living in California and having spent my summers dealing with tornado warnings in Michigan, you think that I would be a little bit prepared for a disaster should it happen. Yeah, um, not so much. Sure, we have a "disaster kit" that I bought at Target but beyond that I am not really prepared. I know that it is something that I should be doing but up until now it has been at the bottom of the list and just gotten pushed aside.

On Monday, I went to CityMama’s adorable apartment to hear from California Volunteers about Disaster Preparedness with Robyn. I was really amazed by all the info. that we got and realized that getting prepared in baby steps is the way to go. California Volunteers website as very detailed info on things to do but Robyn came up with a great list of simple things that Firefighter Erica discussed with us. I will admit that I just copied this list from Robyn's blog because I am being lazy and she said it all so well! Thankfully, I am a good friend and told her I was stealing her post ;-)

Create a Family Disaster Plan. Make sure it includes two meeting places, an out-of-state contact, and storing copies of important documents outside of your home (like in a safe deposit box). CalVolunteer’s website will also make a free downloadable customizable book for your kids. How cool is that?

Put shoe box under everyone’s bed with a pair of shoes, flashlight, and sweater. If there's an emergency in the middle of the night, everyone can get out of the house safely.

Practice with your kids how to escape from their bedroom if there was a fire. Our windows don't open well enough for us to be able to climb out so we need to practice with LG on how to get out. When seconds count, you don’t want your kids panicking that they don’t know what to do.

Know where your gas shut-off is and how to turn it off. One thing we learned is that people often turn off gas after a disaster even when it isn't necessary. If you smell gas or hear a leak in your home, turn off the gas. Otherwise, it’s OK to leave it on. You also should NEVER turn the gas back on....have PG&E do it because it can be very dangerous.

Properly secure your water heater. One, you don’t want hot water pouring everywhere. Two, it hooks up to your gas, so you don’t want a leak if it fell. But most important, the water in your water heater can be your best source of water if you can’t drink your tap water.

My biggest take-away came from the firefighter who was there to show us what we can do to keep our families safe. Erica said that in a large disaster (think Katrina, think the ’89 Quake, etc), that her #1 goal was to be able to stay at home and not have to go to a shelter. Of course, staying in your home isn’t always an option. But if you can stay home, would you want to? You must make sure that your home is supplied to allow for it. Going through the Disaster Supplies Checklist, I realized that we have a lot of this stuff already in our home but we’ve never organized it into one place.

And if you still feel like you'll never earn your Merit Badge for Disaster Preparedness, then how about a Disaster Kit for FREE?!? CalVolunteers is letting me giveaway TWELVE disaster kits to my lucky readers. Simply comment on this post before Monday, November 23rd with what change your family is going to make to be more prepared for a disaster. Winners will be chosen at random.

Photo credit: California Volunteers

Disclosure: I received a free lunch and two disaster kits during my morning at CityMama's house. I was not obligated to write a piece. The opinions expressed above are mine and mine alone....okay and Robyn's!

23 comments:

shedges said...

Lia thanks for the post, I know it's something we should do, I got put off the last time I did one I forgot to check it on a regular basis and a water jug had leaked, it was not a pleasant experience to find it after 2 yrs! Moral: You can not just make a kit you have to check it and update it regularly

Maureen said...

We need to practice escape routes - and get a fire ladder. We have water stored but, just like they did at school, we should probably check it for "freshness!" Thanks for the reminder, Lia.

Lady M said...

I definitely need to check our supplies again. I did a good job setting aside water, um about two years ago. I hope it hasn't all leaked like Sarah's stash!

Pamela H said...

I have no supplies at this point, I better get some!

Sharon said...

A good reminder, Lia. I need to check my supplies and refresh them. I am also stockpiling prescription medications so I have plenty of extra's on hand.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reminder, Lia. I need to get on this NOW. My family is NOWHERE near prepared. I actually have scheduled a "date" with Getty and St├ęphane tomorrow to create our immediate plans as far as escape routes, him remembering our telephone number (he has our address down) and what to do if we ever become separated. It's such a scary thing to think about, and the chance of it happening to us is small, but you just never know...

Pam

Gretchen said...

I'll give the list to Boomer and he'll get it together, since that is way too much for me to handle. I could get the water, and the extra baby supplies. After that, I'd be lost :-)

G

Gretchen said...

I'll give the list to Boomer and he'll get it together, since that is way too much for me to handle. I could get the water, and the extra baby supplies. After that, I'd be lost :-)

G

Jeanette said...

Lia, thanks for the information. There are quite a few quick and easy things that you can do to help be more prepared in the event of a disaster. Thanks and keep up the good work.

Amy S. said...

You are right, we all need to prepare a bit better. Sarah, we've had the same thing happen - and we've had rats eat into our disaster supplies. Now THAT was a disgusting mess. We bought a plastic barrel from Costco that is supposed to have food for 3 days for 4 people to supplement. How do people keep the flashlights in place? Any time a kid discovers a flashlight, it wanders around, no matter what.

Heather said...

We are definitely not prepared for a disaster. We have talked to the kids about our upstairs escape route, but that's about it. Thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...

Good blog! I have a kit, actually saw it yesterday and realalized, I needed to check expiration dates! Itwas put together so long ago. Thanks for the tip about the shoebox under the bed, what a great idea! :0 Tamme Copple

Jen said...

Not prepared for a disaster at all! We "usually" always have water on hand....really need to do some planning! Thanks for the reminder that I definitely need.

svtwinmom said...

I would love to have one to toss into our earthquake preparedness bin. We keep dipping into our supplies when we run out of things, it's like our own little 7-11! Thanks for passing along important info.

Juliebeans said...

Thanks for the reminders, Lia. We have talked about where to meet, but there are still several things we need to do. I like the idea of putting a shoe box under the bed with emergency supplies. I will talk to Hubby about the water heater and other stuff. We've got work to do!

Janel said...

I am so not prepared. This is great information. Janel

Lori said...

I'd love one! Enjoyed reading this post since I should be following the advice in it, since I live in Tornado Country.

NYBE said...

i would love one woman!

Leigh said...

So I read the top half of this and didn't see the give away portion. I read all the comments too and was like "whoa" they really care about this post! LOL

Free stuff rules!

Leigh said...

I went to FB and had to come back! I left that part out....

The Warner Corner said...

We are still waiting for the "big" one to hit here in Utah. This was a good reminder. I need to be better prepared.

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