We’re Doomed As Doomed Can Be

disasterprepare1.jpgLa Jolla scientist Yuri Fialko is claiming that the San Andreas Fault “is under immense stress and could produce a massive earthquake at any moment.” The quake could hit Los Angeles harder than the one that destroyed San Francisco in 1906.

As numb as we all are to these occasional predictions of impending doom, these are always nice reminders to get ready for any sort of disaster that may come our way. Besides earthquakes, we have plenty to prepare for – there’s that terrorist threat, wildfires, frequent wildfires, the occasional riot, rolling blackouts, and impending robot attacks, to name a few.

After the jump, a few practical but lesser discussed disaster preparedness tips, plus a few more common ones.

Four uncommon tips to prepare for the inevitable whatever:

1. Keep a flashlight under your bed and within reach. In case of a quake one of the safest spots will be under the bed anyway, or on the floor, so it keep it where you can reach it after the emergency hits. Additionally, if kept on a dresser it may fall to god knows where… keep it where it won’t move.

2. Always keep a little cash hidden somewhere in your pad. In case of extended power outages ATMs and credit card terminals may be unavailable.

3. Make sure you have a typical, fully wired phone around to jack into the wall. Cordless phones will also be useless in a power outage, and be prepared for your cellular phone to also be pretty much useless. And don’t rely on your broadband phone, eg Vonage, to be a lifeline in case of catastrophe.

4. Take up camping for a hobby – not only could the equipment you buy prove useful in a tragedy, but being comfortable coping without the creature comforts and other simple survival skills will prove invaluable.

Can anyone recommend other less common tips for disaster/power outage preparedness and survival?

Additional tips culled from the Los Angeles County Emergency Survival Program (ESP):

Secure It Now!
Reducing and/or eliminating hazards throughout your home, neighborhood, workplace and school can greatly reduce your risk of injury or death following the next earthquake or other disaster. Conduct a “hazard hunt” to help identify and fix things such as unsecured televisions, computers, bookcases, furniture, unstrapped water heaters, etc. Securing these items now will help to protect you tomorrow.

Make A Plan
Planning for an earthquake, terrorist attack, or other emergency is easier than you think. Make sure that your emergency plan includes evacuation and reunion plans; your out of state contact person’s name and number; the location of your emergency supplies and other pertinent information. By planning now, you will be ready for the next emergency.

Make Disaster Kits
Everyone should have disaster supplies kits stored in accessible locations at home, at work and in your vehicle. Having emergency supplies readily available can reduce the impact of an earthquake, a terrorist incident or other emergency on you and your family. Your disaster supplies kits should include food, water, flashlights, portable radios, batteries, a first aid kit, cash, extra medications, a whistle, fire extinguisher, etc.

Is Your Place Safe?
Most houses are not as safe as they could be. Whether you are a homeowner or a renter, there are things that you can do to improve the structural integrity of your home. Some of the things that you might consider checking include inadequate foundations, unbraced cripple walls, soft first stories, and unreinforced masonry. Consult a contractor or engineer to help you identify your building’s weaknesses and begin to fix them now.

More fact sheets from ESP can be found here, or a simple common sense guide from the Department of Homeland Security can be found here.

(image from the Cold War Civil Defense Museum)

2 thoughts on “We’re Doomed As Doomed Can Be”

  1. David:

    Great post. The resources you mention are outstanding. If they merely whet the appetite of b/la readers though, please know that additional disaster and emergency preparedness resources are always available via a prominent pull down menu on our agency home page at LAFD.ORG

    Again, great post with excellent information. When it comes to surviving a disaster, Knowledge is Power!

    Brian Humphrey
    Public Service Officer
    Los Angeles Fire Department

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