Preparing for a Disaster

It seems like it takes a disaster somewhere around the country to get people to start preparing. I understand that people don’t want to think about “The Big One” or any other major calamity occurring in their city, but it is important to do so. Over the past few months, Penelope and I have been fine tuning our disaster plan and making our loft a safer place in the event of an earthquake. Here are some of the things we have done:

  • Attached all of our hanging art with Monkey Hooks, which may or may not be fully earthquake safe, but are much better than what we had before, which were the wimpy little nail and hook things
  • Strapped our TV with earthquake straps
  • Strapped any of our furniture that is taller than it is wide with earthquake straps and affixed those straps to either studs or 90lbs drywall toggles
  • Fixed all of our pottery / standing photo frames / kachinas with museum putty
  • Installed childproof latches in our kitchen cupboards

We already had our emergency food and water stocked, but next weekend we are going to rotate it out and buy new MREs and bottled water. Here is what we have in our disaster home kit:

  • Human / Cat Food for 10 days for 2 people and 2 cats
  • Water for 10 days for 2 people and 2 cats
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight (with crank)
  • AM/FM Radio with Extra Batteries
  • Ham Radio with Extra Batteries
  • Cash
  • Crowbar
  • Change of Clothes
  • Sturdy Shoes
  • Copy of disaster plan
  • Backpacks

In our cars we have the following:

  • Water for 5 days
  • Food for 5 days
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Flashlight (with crank)
  • AM/FM Radios with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Backpack
  • Cash
  • Emergency Plan

Our emergency plan has an out of state contact number, the phone numbers of our family members and the plan of what to do if you are at home, away from home, or if home is no longer there. My wife and I are both trained in CPR and First Aid and in the next few months we will both be attending CERT training. I recommend that everyone at least gets First Aid and CRP training and if you can spare three Saturdays in May, please join DLANC and get CERT training. If you are interested in the DLAN CERT training please email me: [email protected].

21 thoughts on “Preparing for a Disaster”

  1. Dave,

    Thanks for taking the often-awkward stance of encouraging others to be prepared.

    I hope and pray that many of the people who tune me out (yes, I often get e-mail that says ‘enough already’) will read and follow your plea to get prepared.

    Along with the permanent pull-down menu of Disaster Preparedness links atop the LAFD.ORG website, we are pleased to offer a free 40-page Emergency Preparedness booklet.

    I’d encourage everyone at b/la to click here and print the booklet and keep it handy for what *will* happen. If nothing else, please think of it as your way of helping us help you!

    Again, thanks Dave. You’re doing far more good than you might imagine.

    Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

    Brian Humphrey
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

  2. Hey Dave nice to see it brought up, its been so long since we got thumped hard most people forget its going to happen again and drop their gaurd.
    For the parents out there…in your EQ kit don’t forget to have something for the kids to keep them entertained like a couple of books, a stuffed animal and a spare “blankie”. When it hits that little of normalcy for them helps them cope while we put the house back together and find their important comfort toys. We also kept for the kids some little treaty things that wouldn’t spoil. Fortunately its been so long since northridge mine have outgrown those needs, but if anyone has little ones about they need to keep that in mind when packing and planning.

  3. Oh but come now, surely the government will take care of us. I’m personally looking forward to my time spent at the Superdo- I mean the Staples Center.

  4. Having just watched my first episode of Man vs. Wild and then reading Cormac McCarthy’s post-apocalyptic “The Road,” I’ve totally been thinking about the potential of catastrophy and my embarassing inability to deal with it. So, thanks for the prod to actually move forward with planning for it. Can you give us an idea of what your “disaster plan” looks like? I can stockpile goods, but I’m not sure what a disaster plan is or what I do with it. And though I love them, I don’t think that the Monkey Hooks are actually earthquake-proof. Don’t real earthquake-proof hangers close-off?

    Also, you forgot to list “Shotgun, for Shooting Cannibals in the Face.”

  5. Heh, yeah basically my plan is a list of phone numbers and what to do in case we are at home, at work or if the home has been destroyed. It has meeting places and directions to those places. It also has a list of phone numbers of loved ones as well as a primary and secondary out of state contact.

    The shotgun was left off the list because I don’t want to freak anyone out.


  6. Oh and I couldn’t find any earthquake proof hangars that worked in hollow walls… everything I found required a stud. It seems that you could mod the monkey hooks to be closed without too much trouble.

  7. Home Depot sells 50 lb closed earthquake proof hangers for drywall. The nails go in at an angle so that the weight is distributed evenly and they snap closed to avoid bouncing” off the hook.

  8. The ones I saw that snapped closed were made to go directly into a stud. Our house has metal studs so that wouldn’t work out so well.

  9. Nice little thump in the valley, couple of hours nearly due west another little thump check it out:
    Last time I saw that happen a few days past and northridge ripped. Then again this isn’t true “earthquake” weather, thats due later this week ;)
    Just continuing that urban myth, the message Dave posted is a nice reminder, always nice when mutha nature chimes in with a couple of little exclamation points.

  10. I would love to see more outreach in places like college campuses on how to be prepared – both for after the event and for during. Can’t tell you how many times I watched suitmates and dormmates install shelving or glass-framed art above their beds (I did try to mention that perhaps the Aiwa might hurt in a 6.5 situation).

    Great list!

  11. Yeah I forgot to mention, we don’t have anything hanging over our bed. Maybe someday we’ll buy a nice tapestry to hang there.


  12. Dave, good post. I’ve been meaning to order disaster kits for a long time and never got around to it, today I did. Ordered a couple of 3 day kits shipped in plastic bucket toilets. Lets hope they turn out to be a a HUGE waste of money.

    I’ll get a pic of the picture hangers and email it to ya.

  13. Oh yeah…don’t forget to recycle your fresh water supply every couple of months so you have truly fresh water around if an emergency arises.

  14. Thanks for the reminder, our kit needs a refresh and we are behind on it. We also include (and we don’t have kids yet) playing cards, writing materials, green army men. Got to have something to do while waiting for FEMA to come…

  15. One thing I’d suggest is a cheap, old fashioned land line phone that doesn’t need electricity from the wall socket. When the power goes out you can usually still make and receive calls as the phone lines carry their own power. People might not think it’s necessary in this day of cell phones, but just wait until that needs a charge. Good to have for regular old outages as well.

  16. good point, although remember that the phones will likely be down as well…. in a simple powerfailure though that would do the trick.

  17. RE: the “old skool” phone. After the Northridge earthquake in 1994 I was the only one in my apartment building (and the one next door) with an old fashioned phone. (Santa Monica). Our power didn’t come back on until late in the day, but the phone line never stopped working. I left the phone out on a chair for anyone to use all day.

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