Add Emergency Preparedness to New Year’s Resolutions for 2017

With the calendar flipping to 2017, those pesky New Year’s Resolutions once again become a priority. Whether it’s making plans to regularly attend the gym, eat healthier or other timely concessions, there may be one resolution that is often overlooked.

The importance of being prepared for emergencies or natural disasters is always paramount.

Living in California provides unmatched accommodations and beauty, but it’s also prone to the constant threat of disasters, such as earthquakes, flooding and wildfires.

To assist in your New Year’s Resolutions, here are some emergency preparedness tips for these five specific disasters:

 

Floods

  • Avoid walking or driving through flood waters.
  • Just 6 inches of moving water can knock you down, and 2 feet of water can sweep your vehicle away.
  • If there is a chance of flash flooding, move immediately to higher ground.
  • If floodwaters rise around your car but the water is not moving, abandon the car and move to higher ground. Do not leave the car and enter moving water.

Read more about flood preparedness here.

 

Winter Storms

  • Prepare an emergency kit with a flashlight, batteries, bottled water, non-perishable food, blankets, warm clothing, first aid kit and other items you might need for several days.
  • Monitor local news and weather stations for updates.
  • Pay attention to alerts and warnings from authorities.
  • If you don’t have to go out, stay home.
  • Use extreme caution around downed trees and slow down for debris in the street.
  • Avoid all downed power lines and objects touching them. Report downed lines to your local authorities.

Read more about winter storm preparedness here.

 

Earthquakes

  • Identify potential hazards in your home and begin to fix them.
  • Create a disaster-preparedness plan.
  • Identify your building’s potential weaknesses and begin to fix them.
  • Protect yourself during earthquake shaking (Drop, Cover, and Hold On!)

Read more about earthquake preparedness here.

 

Wildfires

  • Have fire extinguishers on hand and train your family on how to use them (check expiration dates regularly).
  • Ensure that your family knows where your gas, electric, and water main shut-off controls are located and how to safely shut them down in an emergency.
  • Maintain a list of emergency contact numbers posted near your phone and in your emergency supply kit.
  • Have a portable radio or scanner so you can stay updated on the fire.

Read more about wildfire preparedness here.

 

Drought

  • Avoid over watering your lawn. Water only when needed.
  • A heavy rain eliminates the need for watering for up to two weeks. Most of the year, lawns only need one inch of water per week.
  • If your lawn does require watering, do so early in the morning or later in the evening, when temperatures are cooler.
  • Check your sprinkler system frequently and adjust sprinklers so only your lawn is watered and not the house, sidewalk, or street.

Read more about drought preparedness here.

 

Additional resources

Cal OES

Cal FIRE

Drought.ca.gov

Storms.ca.gov

Ready.gov

National Weather Service

 

 

 

Jonathan Gudel

Jonathan Gudel is a Public Information Officer for the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES). Since joining Cal OES, he has assisted in the response and recovery efforts of the Aliso Canyon Gas Leak, the state's historic drought, the Oroville Dam Emergency Spillway Incident, unprecedented winter storms in 2017, the October (Sonoma County) and December (Santa Barbara County) 2017 wildfires, and statewide wildfire siege in 2018 . Previously, he worked in the newspaper industry for 12 years.

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