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Will You Be Prepared When The Next Disaster Strikes?

September is National Preparedness Month

Simply, you need to be prepared.

When the topic is disasters, that’s the take from University Police Sgt. Scott Brown, who also serves as the CSULB’s emergency services coordinator and who is using September’s National Preparedness Month to remind individuals to get prepared.

“Instead of focusing on the university as we have done in the past, I really want to get the word out that everyone needs their own personal preparedness plan,” said Brown. “The university and local governments can do only so much. It is recommended you have at least five days of supplies in order to provide for your family.

“I have been doing this for years and, to be perfectly honest, most the people I know are not prepared. I think people feel that it has never happened here, so they don’t have to worry about it.”

Like most, he doesn’t know when, but Brown is convinced the next disaster will come, most likely in the form of an earthquake. And, when it does, he says it’s much better to be prepared and self-sufficient than to rely on others for food and shelter. Generally, every 150 years there is a major event on the San Andreas Fault and it’s been about 150 years since the last southern event, according to Brown.

“Everyone is in agreement, we are overdue for a major event on the San Andreas Fault and by that I mean 7.0 or greater,” he added. “So, I think people should get ready.”

Brown said that personal preparations, depending on your needs, can cost a little or a lot of money for appropriate supplies. As an example, he said, for around $100 individuals can have a supply of food and water in the trunk of their car, which is a great place to keep supplies because the majority of individuals are usually where there vehicle is. And, if needed, that vehicle can also serve as temporary shelter.

“As least that way you have something. You have to have something in this day and age. It’s foolish to do without,” said Brown. “If you are going to have only one set of supplies it should be in your car because you will most likely be wherever you car is. If nothing else, have one flat of water and food that will last for a while. So you have the things right there to survive.”

Emergency graphic

As for the recent earthquake that rattled Southern California on July 29, Brown said that at the very least should it serve as a big wakeup call and get individuals to seriously think about their own preparedness.

Families should also put together home disaster supply kits, again, with enough provisions for at least five days. To be considered complete, kits should contain food, water, clothing, supplies, medical and hygiene items to meet everyone’s personal needs, including pets. Containers for kits should be large enough to hold all the supplies but small enough to handle without difficulty. A large plastic garbage can or similar larger storage system is recommended. Those with existing kits should remember to rotate the food and water supplies on a regular basis to ensure freshness.

If you have animals, that is another dynamic because most shelters do not allow pets.

“You will have to take care of animals by yourself for the most part,” said Brown. “Shelters run by the Red Cross or most shelters run by the county will not accept pets. It’s just too dangerous because the pets will be too excited and ramped up and the chance to get bitten it too great.”

He did note that sometimes rescue organizations set up shelters to accommodate owners with pets, but if you show up at a regular shelter with your pets they will not be accepted, the exception being guide dogs, service dogs, and services animals.

“Bottom line is, everything you can do to prepare yourself and your family makes you less reliant on the community to take care of you and you are far better off,” said Brown.

For more information on how to get prepared, visit the CSULB Emergency Web site or the American Red Cross Web site.