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Yes, we’re ready

After witnessing the tsunami in south Asia last December and Hurricane Katrina in the southern United States, my family has gotten prepared. The weekend after Katrina, we held a family meeting and discussed what should be kept in our emergency kit. After an hour of discussing items and sharing thoughts, we decided what items we should have in our kit. It holds many cans of food, two can openers, a box of bottled water, two small flashlights and four blankets. My dog has an emergency kit of his own with multiple flavors of Alpo, a blanket and another can opener. Hurricane Katrina alerted my family and because of that we made our futures safer.
–Fred Scarf, 15, Montclair Preparatory School (Van Nuys)

If a disaster were to take place in Los Angeles like in New Orleans, my family would be very prepared. Each member of my family has an emergency kit that was prepared by a professional. It includes flashlights, three extra batteries, rope, blankets and sleeping bags. My family has taken CPR classes.

My stepdad has been paranoid of earthquakes and natural disasters since the 1994 Northridge earthquake, when his house collapsed and broke his neck. He was fortunate to get to a hospital. (He’s OK now.) This experience was very scary and led my family to always be prepared. We have canned food, gallons of water and cages to transport our pets. Our dog is trained so that if we blow a whistle he knows to go into the cage. We also have all phone numbers of family outside of California. All we can do is hope that there will be no need to use these precautions.
–Szimonetta Mulati, 15, Viewpoint School (Calabasas)

Well, sort of

We are semi-prepared. We have some extra food and water, but it wouldn’t last long. I have earthquake safety straps on all my expensive stuff like my TV, PC and stereo; that would suck to lose all that. Otherwise though, I probably wouldn’t be any better off than anyone who wasn’t prepared.
–Marc Mouallem, 16, Crespi Carmelite HS (Encino)

Um, not really

In my family, our main topic of conversation is not about earthquakes. My mom lives by the motto, "Life’s too short to be worrying about things like that." In a way she is right, but if you think about it, life will be short if you don’t plan for things like that.
–Nattalie Tehrani, 14, South HS (Torrance)

I believe that it would be very helpful to have a plan if something did occur, even though earthquakes are very unpredictable. When going on family vacations, my father always designates a meeting place to return to if we get separated. Because an earthquake could occur when my family is not together, we should decide on a meeting place. I would also feel safer if I knew earthquake kits would be available. I would not want to be in a situation where I have nowhere to go or don’t know what to do.
–Susan Cho, 15, Cleveland HS (Reseda)

If an earthquake occurs, I don’t even know WHERE I would go because I live on the sixth floor of an apartment. I think it would be a good idea if I learn about what I should do in an emergency. Should I call my family? What happens if I’m stuck in my apartment and the phone lines are dead? What do I do?
–Leira Marte, 16, Notre Dame Academy (Los Angeles)

My family is not prepared for earthquakes and I don’t think it’s possible to be prepared. We don’t know when, what or where an earthquake will hit. Our kit would probably be destroyed in the quake. And I mean, whatever happens, happens. Let’s be realistic.
–Victoria Imtanes, 14, Fairfax HS (Los angeles)

My family is not prepared for any natural disasters. It is not that we don’t care. It is more of an out-of-sight, out-of-mind issue.
–Nicole Chi, 16, Crescenta Valley HS