Public Safety

Be Prepared for Emergencies in 2012

Did you resolve to make healthier food choices and be more active in 2012, reduce your debt or simply spend more time with your family this year? Those are among the most common new year resolutions, but the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is suggesting an important addition to that list. Resolve to be Ready with an emergency preparedness goal.

“Making and meeting personal emergency preparedness goals is a great way to increase your family’s safety and peace of mind,” said Holly Crawford, Director for the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services. “As we begin a new year, I encourage you to create or review personal preparedness plans for your home and office. In San Diego, wildfires and earthquakes are a year-round risk and preparing a plan ahead of time can help save lives and protect your property.”

Resolve to be Ready for emergencies in 2012 by taking four important steps to prepare your family, home, business, and community in the face of potential disaster.

  • Learn your risks
  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Get involved

To learn more about the risks in our region, visit ReadySanDiego.org. Families can create or update a personal emergency preparedness plan including a home and car emergency supply kit. The site has a free Family Disaster Plan template with a list of items for your home emergency supply kit, as well as other preparedness resources.

The FEMA Resolve to be Ready public awareness campaign also reminds residents to learn how to send updates via text and internet from their mobile phone to their contacts and social channels in case voice communications are not available. Additionally, FEMA suggests that people store important documents such as personal and financial records in the cloud, on a secure and remote area or a flash or jump drive that they can keep readily available so those items can be accessed from anywhere.

In 2011, the nation has seen more billion-dollar natural disasters than any year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. During the first 11 months of 2011, 97 major disasters were declared, according to FEMA.

Since we can’t predict or prevent all the disasters that might occur in San Diego County, having an emergency plan will help minimize the chaos that can follow. Having an emergency plan can also help speed up recovery after a disaster.

WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO PREPARE?

Are you prepared for an emergency? Here is a quiz from the FEMA Resolve to be Ready campaign. Find out just how prepared you are. If you don’t know the answer to some of the questions, visit ReadySanDiego.org or Ready.gov for tips and resources that can help make sure you, your family, and your community are Ready.

  • Do you know how to find the emergency broadcasting channel on the radio?
  • Does your city/county have an emergency alert system? Is so, are you signed up to get alerts?
  • Do you know your local evacuation routes? How would you get out of town from work? How about from home?
  • Does your city/county have a Community Emergency Response Team program?
  • In the last year, have you prepared or updated your Emergency Supply Kit with emergency supplies like water, food and medicine that is kept in a designated place in your home? Visit ReadySanDiego.org or Ready.gov for an Emergency Supply Kit checklist.
  • In the last year, have you prepared a small kit with emergency supplies that you keep at home, in your car or where you work to take with you if you had to leave quickly?
  • In the last year, have you made a specific plan for how you and your family would communicate in an emergency situation if you were separated?
  • Are you prepared to help your neighbor? In most emergencies, the best way to get help quickly is by working with your neighbors. Do you know anyone in your neighborhood who might need a little extra help preparing for or responding to an emergency?
  • Have you established a specific meeting place for your family to reunite in the event you and your family cannot return home or are evacuated?
  • In the last year, have you practiced or drilled on what to do in an emergency at home?
  • Have you taken first aid training such as CPR in the past five years?
Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact