Are you Ready? Having a Plan Matters

Disasters can create chaos and confusion. If you aren’t prepared when an emergency happens, you’ll be forced to make decisions in circumstances that could further compromise your safety. It doesn’t matter if it’s extreme heat, power shutdowns or wildfires; the more prepared you are the better. Having a well-rehearsed disaster plan can protect you, your loved ones…your pets. Both FEMA and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) have tools to help.

Download an Emergency Plan form and complete it. You can get the form at: https://go.usa.gov/xyqyG. After that, rehearse the strategy you develop.

Here are some other things we can also do to prepare for the unexpected:

  • Keep an ample supply of clean, bottled water on hand.
  • Have enough non-perishable food for two weeks, along with a manual can opener.
  • Know how to shut off the gas, power and water to your home.
  • Change your extra flashlight and weather radio batteries to make certain they will work when you need them.
  • Have some emergency cash tucked away as ATMs could be offline after a disaster.
  • Never have less than half a tank of gas in your car. If you have to evacuate, gas pumps may not be working.

The next step is to put together emergency kits. You can go to https://go.usa.gov/xy3km for examples of what to put in these kits. You should also discuss these four questions with your family, friends and even neighbors:

  • How will I receive emergency alerts and warnings?
  • What is my shelter plan?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • What is my family/household emergency plan?

For additional resources, visit www.Ready.gov, download the FEMA app to your smartphone or tablet, or visit the Cal OES page for family preparedness: https://www.caloes.ca.gov/individuals-families.  There, you’ll find emergency safety tips, more information on building a kit, how to decide on an emergency meeting place and even how to teach a preparedness curriculum in your school.

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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