Preparedness actions increase the chances that you and your family survive an emergency.
Five steps will increase your readiness:
- Prepare an Emergency and Communications Plan
- Prepare for Special Needs: Children, Elderly, Disabilities, and Animals
- Review, Practice, and Train
- Obtain and Store Emergency Supplies
- Take Action to Protect Your Home
1. Prepare a Plan
The stress of an emergency reduces the ability to think clearly or remember the simplest things. So, with family members, take the time to collect and document important information. Write down your ideas in a Family Emergency Plan. Make multiple copies and take a copy to work, keep in the family emergency kit, and in the glove box of your car.
- Sign Up for Alerts and Notifications. Sign all family members up for
- Identify Emergency Contacts and Medical Needs. Identify important emergency contact information related to doctors, family members, and neighbors.
- Identify an “Out of State Contact”. Long distance lines will be more accessible after an emergency. Avoid calling local phone numbers. This person becomes a “bulletin board” for family members to leave messages. Be sure to tell the person their role as your “bulletin board."
- Know Your School Plan. Ask about and learn the school’s plan during emergencies. Be sure to identify an “authorized” person to pick up your children if you are not available. Let these people know you picked them as an authorized person.
- Identify Escape Routes and Reunification Sites. Draw out a floor plan of your home. Identify at least two means to escape each room in the house. Identify where utility shutoffs are located, and where supplies are located. Specify a spot to gather outside the home.
- Identify How to Evacuate and What to Take With You. Identify at least two routes to leave your home toward a major road. Be certain about what you would take if you had 5 minutes versus 60 minutes.
2. Prepare for Special Needs
- Children, the elderly, those with disabilities, and pets/animals have to be given special considerations, particularly as it applies to emergency supplies, evacuation needs, and responding to the emergency.
- Medications are critically important. Have additional supplies on hand if you can.
- Register with PG&E's Medical Baseline Program if you or a family member has a qualifying medical condition. You will receive a lower monthly rate and extra notifications in advance of a Public Safety Power Shutoff.
- Have your pet microchipped and make sure that you not only keep your address and phone number up-to-date, but that you also include contact information for an emergency contact outside of your immediate area.
3. Review, Practice, and Train
- Review Your Family Emergency Plan. Regularly review your Family Emergency Plan to be sure the information is up-to-date. Common errors in plans include not having current phone numbers and relocating, and then forgetting, where the emergency supplies are, etc.
- Practice, Practice, Practice. There are reasons that schools practice fire drills. Fire drills check that the plan actually works in practice and familiarizes everyone with their roles during an emergency. Fire drills help reduce confusion, panic, and disorderly behavior. Families need to practice their Emergency Plans as well. Practice evacuating the house and turning off power and water.
- Train. Get trained on Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), Personal Emergency Preparedness, and First Aid. Help organize your neighborhood and register to be part of the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT). The Livermore-Pleasanton Fire Department offers CERT training twice a year (spring and fall) and maintains a waiting list for the next class.
4. Obtain and Store Emergency Supplies
Following an emergency, water, food, and supplies will be in high demand, but may be unavailable. Take the time to identify and collect the supplies you will need. Ready.gov offers resources for building, maintaining, and storing emergency kits.
It takes thought, it takes time, and it takes action to be prepared.
- Identify and collect the supplies your family needs.
- Place supplies in a storage container.
- Store your kit in a convenient place known to all family members.
- Keep items in airtight plastic bags.
- Change your stored water supply every six months so the packaging does not break and it stays fresh.
- Keep a smaller version of the supplies in the trunk of your car.
- Rotate your stored food every six months. Replace batteries, update clothes, etc.
- Rethink your kit and family needs at least once a year.
- Ask your physician or pharmacist about storing prescription medications.
5. Take Action to Protect Your Home
Reduce Household Hazards
- Put smoke and carbon monoxide alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
- Keep a fire extinguisher on every level of your home and an extra one in the kitchen, where the majority of fires start.
- Learn how to turn off utilities like natural gas and water.
- Earthquake-proof furniture. Anchor heavy furniture and televisions to the wall. Secure drawers, refrigerators, and cabinet doors with safety latches.
- Reduce vegetation that can burn during fires.
- Check your insurance annually and know what your policy covers.