April Meeting Recap: Emergency Preparedness

This month’s meeting on Emergency Preparedness was so enlightening. With all of the earthquakes that have occurred in the last few months, the timing couldn’t have been better. We had two representatives from the SJ Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) come to speak with us and go over what to do in the event of various emergencies and what to have prepared in case of emergencies.

We learned different emergency scenarios: fire, hazardous materials, earthquake, etc., creating a family plan and how to handle these situations.

Some really great quick tips:

  • Know where your gas, water and power meters are and how to shut them off, if necessary.
  • Discuss with your family what you would do during an emergency and create a family plan of action.
  • Create emergency kits – GO Bags – for various places: work, car, and in your bedroom. These bags are not your entire emergency kit, but the supplies you need immediately: shoes, glasses, clothes, flashlight. Imagine if it were the middle of the night and an emergency happened. You’d need to be able to grab a bag and run. You won’t have time to grab clothes, shoes, glasses, et cetera.  The “Go Bag” would be indispensable.
  • Make sure your kids know what to do and how to react. A common reaction for kids is to hide and in an emergency, this would be the scariest thing for a parent.  Explaining and teaching them from a young age how to react and what to do during an emergency could save their lives.
  • Have an out of state contact. This would be the point person that ALL family members could contact and let know they are ok. Most often, local phone service is cut off (to keep lines open for emergency personnel), it will be easier to call out of state than locally. Let your out of state contact also have copies of any vital documents: passport, drivers license, insurance papers, etc (scanned on a USB stick is great).
  • Carry a photo of your loved ones in your wallet. In the event of an emergency, you will have a photo of your loved ones, in the event you need it. It is much easier to find someone when you have a photo for people to look at than just a verbal description. Cell phones may lose battery power, so an old fashioned photo is still best.

For a complete guide on how to create a family plan and what should be in your emergency kit, visit

One of the biggest concerns I have regarding an emergency is dealing with the aftermath.  An emergency happens and you are required to eat rations.  A majority of people survive actual emergencies only to get ill afterward due to lack of nutrition, stress, fatigue, et c etera. It is vital to keep the body as healthy as possible.  Most MRE’s (Meal, Ready to Eat) are highly processed. Yes, they are fortified with vitamins and minerals…and lets face it, if it’s all you have, you’d eat it…but they are not as nutritious as what most of eat day to day. The best thing to do is to dehydrate, store bulk grains, beans, etc, or to look for healthier MRE alternatives. Here are a few links to some options we have found on the internet.While most are expensive – they do give you a starting point and making your own kit will save substantially, but these links are a great starting point.

Posted by Jennifer Oh

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