The new academic year is just around the corner, get ahead on individual and family emergency planning before school begins. Northern California was recently rocked by a large scale earthquake – when disaster strikes, will you be ready? Do you know what to do at work and at home? Do you have a family plan? It’s important for all of us to be prepared to take care of our families, our homes, our campus community and ourselves. In California, whether it’s wildfires, earthquakes or winter storms, it’s not a matter of “if” a disaster will strike, but “when”. We face our share of natural disasters and we’re not immune to human caused events. BE SMART. BE RESPONSIBLE. BE PREPARED. BE READY!
Here are Ten Ways You Can Be Disaster Prepared . This list is adapted from guidance developed by the California Office of Emergency Services and the UCI Police Department. Take action today – get prepared.
STEP 1: IDENTIFY YOUR RISK.
What are the hazards where you live? What hazards do we face on campus? Find out what natural or human caused disasters pose a risk for you. Do you live or work in a flood plain, near a major earthquake fault or in a high fire danger area? Are you prepared for an unexpected human-made disaster that can strike at any time? Does your neighborhood or community have a disaster plan?
STEP 2: CREATE A FAMILY DISASTER PLAN:
Your family needs a plan that tells everyone:
Where to meet if you have to evacuate. Designate a meeting place outside your home where family members can go. Have a backup meeting pace in your neighborhood in case your first rendezvous point is inaccessible. Make sure your children’s schools and day-care providers or caregivers have a disaster plan and that they schedule annual “disaster drills” with parents to ensure your children’s safety.
Who you’ve identified as the out-of-state friend or family member to be your “family contact” for everyone to check-in with. It is often easier to call long-distance following a disaster.
STEP 3: PRACTICE YOUR DISASTER PLAN:
After you have developed your plan, practice it! Start by having family members meet at a designated spot outside your home like you would after a fire or after the shaking stops. Know how to respond in the event of any disaster, whether to stay put indoors or whether to evacuate your neighborhood by car. If your family needs to evacuate, know the proper evacuation procedures and routs as determined by your local city officials.
On campus, review your work area or department plan with your colleagues. Take an opportunity at an upcoming staff meeting to review emergency procedures. To coordinate a brief evacuation drill, contact your school’s facility manager or zone captain.
STEP 4: BUILD DISASTER SUPPLY KITS FOR YOUR OFFICE, HOME AND CAR:
If you are stranded in your car or have to be self-sufficient at home until help arrives, you need to have a disaster kit with you. Be prepared with a minimum of 3 days of supplies in case vital services are unavailable or utilities are shut off.
STEP 5: PREPARE YOUR CHILDREN:
Parents, talk with your kids about what the risks are and what your family will do if disaster strikes. Practice your family disaster plan every 6 months. Empower your children to help write the family plan, build the disaster supply kit, and lead the drills. Refresh the kit twice each year to insure age appropriate supplies for your children. The more informed and involved children are in disaster planning, the more prepared they will be.
STEP 6: DON’T FORGET THOSE WITH SPECIAL NEEDS:
Infants, seniors and those with special needs must not be forgotten. Make sure that supplies for your infant are in your kit and that you have items such as medication, oxygen tank or other medical supplies that seniors or persons with disabilities may need. Be sure that your have enough special needs supplies for at least 3 days. If you have a family member in an assisted living facility, ask to review the facility’s disaster plan.
STEP 7: LEARN CPR AND FIRST AID:
Take a basic first aid and CPR course from the American Red Cross. Make sure to take the periodic refresher courses to keep your training current. The training could save the life of a loved one or neighbor following a disaster.
On campus, the Anteater Recreation Center (ARC) offers low cost (or sometimes free) classes. Classes are scheduled conveniently during the workday and on weekends.
STEP 8: ELIMINATE HAZARDS IN YOUR HOME AND IN YOUR WORKPLACE:
You must secure the contents of your home or office to reduce hazards, especially during shaking from an earthquake or an explosion. Strap down large electronics, secure cabinet doors, anchor tall furniture and secure overhead objects such as ceiling fans and pictures.
If you live in a high fire danger area, also take the necessary steps to protect your home against wildfires. For advice on making your home fire safe, contact your local fire department.
STEP 9: UNDERSTAND POST 9/11 RISKS:
Disaster preparedness must now account for man-made disasters as well as natural ones. Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and may make all the difference when seconds count. Be vigilant for suspicious packages, unusual activities or behaviors, and out-of-place, unattended backpacks or other materials. Take action to notify the police so that they can respond appropriately.
STEP 10: GET INVOLVED, VOLUNTEER:
Take part in your community planning, preparedness and response teams. Join your local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the American Red Cross, and other community or faith-based organizations in your area.
On campus, keep emergency preparedness on your staff meeting agendas. Participate in Zone Crew activities. Attend training and become a Campus Search and Rescue (CSAR) Team Member.
Helpful Links to Get You Ready!