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Are You Prepared for a Disaster?
While no one can yet predict when an earthquake will strike, or when a wildfire will start, there are many things that you can do right now to prepare in the event a disaster does occur. In doing so you will decrease the likelihood of you and your family being injured or worse, and increase the chance that your home and possessions will survive the disaster.
The MSIC highly recommends that at a minimum you perform the preparation steps below, in addition to doing your own research and education on this topic.
If you need any encouragement to act now, a probable (and grim) scenario in the event of a major earthquake on the nearby Hayward Fault (which runs under our Montclair Village) can be found in this Oakland CORE I Training Manual excerpt.
Recommended steps to be better prepared for a disaster (and there are additional steps provided by organizations such as the Red Cross and FEMA):
- Take the free Oakland CORE emergency preparedness training classes - CORE I, II and III. Also be trained in first aid/CPR.
- Establish a plan for you and your family in the event of a disaster--what you will do, where will you meet, who will you contact, etc. (this is taught in CORE I).
- If your neighborhood is not already organized, work with your neighbors and the MSIC to create a Montclair Organized Neighborhood (MON). Organized neighborhoods are more likely to look out for each other's safety, and are better prepared to respond as a team to address issues resulting from a disaster (this is taught in CORE II and practiced in CORE III).
- Locate your gas, water and electricity shut-off valves and switches, and know when and how to turn these off (and when and how to turn them back on). Keep a gas shut-off wrench by your gas meter. Invest in a seismic or excess-flow automatic gas shut-off valve.
- Make sure that large appliances, water heaters, tall furniture, etc. in your house are securely attached to wall studs. Ensure there are no heavy objects above beds, and look for other non-structural steps you can take in your home to reduce your chances of injury and loss.
- Create or purchase a disaster kit or "Go-Bag" with supplies and tools that you may need in an emergency (example "Go-Bag" checklist). Keep this in a place that should be accessible after a disaster, and also maintain one in your car. Keep water (1 gallon per person per day for at least 3 days), some food, etc. in the same accessible location. Make sure to have pet emergency supplies on-hand as needed.
- Purchase 2-way radios and learn how to use them. Cell phones, landlines and the Internet (local access) may not be working after a disaster. 2-way radios are the most sure way to communicate with other nearby family members and neighbors. Become a licensed Ham/amateur radio operator if you are interested in communicating with disaster service workers.
- If your home has not been seismically upgraded, and especially if your home is more than 20 years old, consider contacting a local structural engineering firm that specializes in earthquake retrofits. Also consider earthquake insurance if this makes sense for your circumstances.
For more information on how you can can better prepare for an emergency, please contact the MSIC Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Response Team chair. We are here to help you in any way possible, so that you can be better able to assist yourself and your neighbors in the event of a disaster.