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Top six important things to do to be ready for a disaster

Posted: September 4, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: September 4, 2013 2:00 a.m.

The Signal asked Santa Clarita emergency management Supervisor Donna Nuzzi and Los Angeles County Office of Emergency Management Director Jeff Reeb what they consider the six most important things to do to prepare for disaster. Here’s what they said.

1. Coordinate communication. Once the shaking stops or the order to evacuate is given, the first concern will be whether your loved ones are OK. Have an out-of-state contact whom everyone in your family or network will call. And have an in-the-area reunification plan, Nuzzi says. Answer the question, “How are you, as a family, going to reunify?” Be aware that cellphone towers could be knocked out. Also be aware that local schools have emergency preparedness plans and equipment to take care of your youngsters. Find out what the plan is at your children’s schools.

2. Household preparedness/emergency kit. “People need to take a moment to consider that they have an adequate supply of water, that they have additional amounts of food at home. Your normal supply chain may be disrupted,” Reeb says. At least a gallon of water a person per day is recommended for three days. Food supplies needn’t be military MREs: “Cereal, PBanJ, simple foods that don’t require refrigeration” are best because they’re familiar, Reeb says. And don’t forget to include supplies to meet the needs of all household pets.

3. Include a first aid kit. This can be simple or elaborate and can be put together yourself. Find out what supplies the Red Cross recommends for a first aid kit at

4. An extra supply of prescription medication for each person requiring it. Drugs stores may be closed or prescription records unavailable.

5. Battery-powered light. Feet cut on broken glass are among the most common post-earthquake injuries. Keep an operating flashlight and a pair of shoes under each resident’s bed. Nuzzi says inexpensive emergency lights are available at any home improvement store that turn on when the power goes out.

6. Stay connected to the outside world. As simple as it may be, a portable, battery-powered radio is the best option, Nuzzi says. She recommends against counting on the car radio, as the car could be unreachable in event of a major disaster, and one doesn’t want to risk a dead battery. Reeb recommends also employing new technology with an awareness that it’s only as good as its battery charge. He recommends buying a battery backup for your cellphone — or two, putting them in different locations.


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