Be Prepared!

by arlene on November 15, 2017

The unprecedented damage caused by the North Bay fires has shaken assumptions about what is a “safe” area.  As we recover from the grief, as well as face the phenomenal physical damage, I hope this tragedy will serve as the most compelling wake-up call possible. Gentle readers, please make sure you take action now to make a plan with your family should fire or another natural disaster strike near your home.

*Do you have a neighborhood emergency preparedness group? If not, consider being the household that starts it up, and then keeps it going.

*Most of us, and many who lost their homes, assume that it will be an earthquake we must plan for. The speed of the fire devastation underscores the need to do advance planning of what crucial items you would take with you if required to evacuate quickly. An emergency kit with basics needs to be already packed and ready to go, and ideally you have one in your car at all times. At a bare minimum, keep copies of your most important legal documents in multiple places outside of your home. Some cash, comfortable walking shoes and socks, underwear, prescription drugs and extra glasses need to be stored in your car, and make sure you have supplies for your pets.

*Take the time to sit down with your partner or family members and develop an evacuation plan. Customize your list of key items that would keep you healthy and with some degree of comfort if a disaster hit here. You’ve all seen the coverage of families who now have only the clothes they were wearing in the middle of the night. Think about that…I’m forcing myself to plan what I would do quickly if forced to flee in the dark, without warning.

Here is one sample evacuation packing list from the City of Berkeley, with good information about emergency evacuation. It includes sobering, but important reading.

*Once your “go bags” are ready, let this be a further reminder to prepare a cache of supplies:  food, water and other basic supplies needed to survey at least a week, and ideally two weeks, without normal services being available. The experience of Puerto Rico should encourage us to be prepared for an extended period without outside help.

And then, I urge you to evaluate the physical preparation for our homes.

*Have you had brush and tree limbs trimmed away from your home? Be sure to keep your roof and gutters clean of debris as well.

*Have you done earthquake retrofitting within the past five years? If not, and you would like references for reputable contractors to do that work, or to add updates to existing retrofitting, please give me a call or send me a message.

In this time of so many forms of disasters in our world, I am comforted by the outpouring of kindness and generosity we are seeing as well.  Our office just donated $11,115 to the Redwood Empire Food Bank, thanks to conributions from me, my colleagues and our clients. Thank you!

Let there be some small positive impacts of these latest tragedies. Let’s all be more prepared. And let’s be reminded to tell our friends and family how much we love them–often.


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