The time to get ready is now. Disaster preparedness information and checklists.
Prepare your bedroom
Walls Make sure heavy mirrors, pictures and wall hangings are not above your bed. If you must hang heavy things, they should be anchored to the "stud," a piece of wood in the wall which is sturdier.
Bed You should keep warm clothes, shoes and socks near (or under) the bed, along with a flashlight and fresh batteries. Do not use candles, as there could be a gas leak. Do not put your bed under a window that could shatter.
Shelves Attach shelves, cabinets and dressers to the walls to keep your furniture from falling on you. Move heavy things from the high shelves to the low ones.
Other exits If your door is blocked, how will you get out? You need an emergency plan. For upper story windows, an emergency fire ladder is ideal. If you can’t afford that, at least keep some sturdy rope in your room.
Floor Keep a clear path from your bed to your door so you can exit quickly.
Tabletops Ceramic statues, toys or other fragile items might jiggle right off your tables during a quake. You can get rubberized anti-slip mats to put under them to prevent this happening. You could also use putty or tape.
Ceiling Do not hang heavy lights or plants above the bed. If you must hang things from the ceiling, attach them to wood beams. Close up the hooks by bending them with pliers or wrapping them with wire.
Gas You should know where the gas meter is and how to turn off the valve. If you don’t know, ask someone in the family to show you what to do.
Pets In case your pet panics and runs away, make sure it has a tag with your name and phone number, as well as the name and number of a relative in the area.
This guide based on American Red Cross information is primarily geared for earthquakes, but could help if disaster strikes. Clip this info out and keep it handy for emergencies.
Create a disaster plan
• Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disasters.
Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Occasional drills will assure quick reaction and avoid injury and panic in an emergency.
• Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.
• Pick two places to meet:
–Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.
–Outside your neighborhood in case you can’t return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.
• Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it’s often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are. Everyone must know your contact’s phone number.
• Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)
• Discuss what to do in an evacuation. Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room. Plan how to take care of your pets. Remember, animals may not be allowed inside emergency shelters due to health regulations.
• Learn first aid free through your local American Red Cross Chapter. Find the one closest to you at the Los Angeles Red Cross Web site at www.acrossla.org or call (213) 739-5220. The Orange County branch of the Red Cross offers an online disaster preparedness class at www.oc-redcross.org.
Create a disaster supplies kit
There are six basics you should stock for your home: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies and special items. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container. Suggested items include water, money, flashlights, radio, can opener, clothing, bedding, important family documents and medications.
Other recommended items include a fire extinguisher, safety equipment, sanitation supplies, food, prescription glasses, first aid supplies, a short rubber hose for gas siphoning and sealable plastic bags.
For a complete list of items contact your local Red Cross chapter or check online at www.redcross.org/services.