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Disaster Preparedness

Reports of earthquakes, fires and other crises may seem overwhelming, but it’s important to know you are not powerless to protect yourself and your family. “Seconds count in an emergency, so preparation can make all the difference in the world,” says Capt. W. Andy Cain, USN (Ret.), a Homeland Security Advisory Board member at Colorado Technical University.

While law enforcement and government officials are on the front lines of responding to emergencies, here are five steps that all Californians can take to feel more secure and prepared.

Create a family emergency plan
Know who to call and what to do in case of an emergency. Make a plan that includes each family member’s contact information, as well as an out-of-town contact who may be in a better position to communicate among separated family members and may live far enough away not to be directly impacted by the same event. For a good overview’s fire section has a check list here. Other online tools, like a family emergency kit featuring easy-to-use forms, are available for download at

Determine a meeting place
Establish an agreed-upon location for everyone to meet to help save time and reduce stress.

Get an emergency supply kit
To prepare for a possible emergency situation, it’s important to focus on survival basics – fresh water, food, clean air and warmth. Put together an emergency supply kit that includes items like bottled water, non-perishable food, a first-aid kit, dust masks and blankets. Other essentials could include a flashlight with extra batteries, cell phone with chargers and a battery-powered radio to stay abreast of the news., among other Web sites, offers a disaster kit checklist.

Have a communication back-up plan
Some events may cause communication network interruptions, preventing a person from getting through to family, friends or emergency personnel. If phone lines are down, have e-mail addresses available. In addition, text messaging may still work despite phone service disruptions. The American Red Cross also has a “Safe and Well” Web site available through, where families can register to let others know about their welfare.

Sign up for alert services
The local radio stations KKBN, Star 92.7 are your number one source for information in the Mother Lode. KVML 1450AM has daily local news coverage and is the source for breaking news coverage. All the KVML news is posted here on Sign up for Alerts here.

With fire season approaching be sure to review the fire section with great tips not only for you and your family but also for your animals in the event of an emergency.

Be safe, be prepared!