Disaster Preparedness: How Prepared Are You?

Oakland’s geology and climate make us susceptible to several types of disaster, including earthquakes, fire, flooding, mudslides, and drought. Certainly, other less obvious forms of disaster could occur, too (e.g., extended power outage, cyber-terrorism, a meteor smashes into your house!). Each potential disaster could impact you, your family, and your property in different ways.

Disaster 1

However, there are some prevention measures that you can take to minimize the impact of these disasters, should you have to ride one out in your home or have to evacuate from your home.

Provided below is a partial list of items you might consider keeping on-hand and activities that can do to help care for your family in the aftermath of a disaster. Ideally, many of these items could be stored in one place, so they could be quickly accessed and moved, if necessary.

  • First aid kit.
  • Bottled water.
  • Canned food.
  • Can opener.
  • Accessible emergency contact numbers (e.g., ambulance, hospital, MD, police, fire department).
  • Health and property insurance documents and contacts.
  • Family meeting place.
  • Contact person to coordinate communication, if your family is separated (preferably someone who does not live in your immediate area).
  • Flashlights.
  • Charged batteries.
  • Candles.
  • Firewood.
  • Matches/lighter.
  • Blankets.
  • Cash (in case the ATMs are down).
  • Personal checks and credit cards.
  • List of important telephone numbers, e-mail addresses, websites, and security passwords.
  • Working smoke detectors.
  • Fire extinguisher (occasionally tested).
  • Known escape routes from your home, in case of fire.
  • ‘Child stickers’ on children’s bedroom windows to alert the fire department that children live in the house.
  • Pet carrier/pet leash.
  • Pet food.
  • Battery-operated radio.
  • Several changes of clothes.
  • Important family photos or other irreplaceable items that can be quickly moved (accent on the ‘quickly moved’).
  • Window shutters.
  • Retaining wall (to guard against mudslides).
  • Clear storm drains to prevent pooling and flooding.
  • Periodically refresh items on the list that may become old and less reliable (e.g., batteries).

While this list is meant to be comprehensive, please do not assume that it is complete. I encourage you to include whatever additional precautionary items you feel you need in order to keep yourself, your family, and your property safe in the event of a disaster. Start on this now. Don’t wait until disaster strikes!

Disaster 2

In the aftermath of a disaster, there will be much work to do to keep Oakland beautiful, but the first order of business is to keep everyone safe.

Keeping Oakland Beautiful is everybody’s business.

We encourage you to share your thoughts in the reply section. We welcome the dialogue and learning of others’ perspectives.

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