Californians are too familiar with disasters. Wildfires, floods, mudslides, and earthquakes are all part of living in California
The Federal Emergency Management Agency ranks California as the second-most disaster-prone state after Texas with 336 major disasters between 1953 and 2020. That includes the 2020 wildfires that burned more than 4 million acres.
Everyone needs to have a plan for coping with an emergency. In some cases — like wildfires, floods, and storms — you have a little time to prepare. Disasters like earthquakes can strike without warning.
Here are some important ways you can be ready.
Every household should have one. If not, start putting one together. You can buy some kits pre-assembled. You can also buy what you need piece by piece. Regardless of how you do it, remember it’s for emergencies. Try not to use the contents unless there is an emergency, otherwise you might not have what you need when disaster occurs.
- Two pairs of sterile gloves
- Sterile dressings
- Soap and antibiotic towelettes for disinfecting
- Antibiotic ointment to prevent infection
- Bandages in a variety of sizes
- Eye wash
- Medicine dropper
- First-aid book
- Pain reliever, antacids, anti-diarrhea medication, laxatives or other over the counter drugs
The best time to prepare for any disaster is before it happens. It’s best to prepare ahead of time, especially for earthquakes, given their unpredictability. Part of those preparations should include a communications plan. Make sure there is an out-of-state contact you can alert. You should also plan where to meet if you are separated from family.
In addition to a first-aid kit, your supply kit should have a gallon of water per person per day, non-perishable food for several days, a flashlight, fire extinguisher, and a whistle.
Buying all these items at once can be expensive, so buy them over time and put them in a durable bag or plastic bin that’s easy to access.
If you are in an earthquake, you should:
- Pull over if driving and set your parking brake.
- Turn face down and cover your neck and head with a pillow if you’re in bed.
- Stay outdoors if that’s where you are and get away from buildings.
- Make sure to avoid doorways if you’re inside during an earthquake. Don’t run outside. Crawl under a table if possible.
More Emergency Kit Musts
Having emergency kit items in your house is good. Assembling them in a kit is better. Putting items in airtight plastic bags and putting those bags in a storage bin or duffel bag is the best.
A disaster could leave you without power, water, or cellular service. You will need to be self-sufficient for several days. So, have:
- Water — at least three gallons per person
- Food — three days of non-perishable energy bars, canned fruit, canned juices, comfort snacks
- Extra doses of medications that your family regularly needs
- Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
- A weather radio with tone alerts
- First-aid kit
- Extra batteries
- Dust masks
- Plastic sheets and duct tape
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags, plastic ties, and hygiene products
- Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
- Manual can opener
- Local maps
- Portable cell phone chargers and backup batteries
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