Saturday, January 05, 2008

Good Advice

Though they are relatively rare in our region, thankfully; it is good to be prepared for disasters, even fairly short ones like yesterday’s storm.

Editorial: Prepare for 'The Big One'
Winds, rain, power outages remind all to get ready
Published 12:00 am PST Saturday, January 5, 2008

The nasty storm now whipping and soaking California once again demonstrates the need for families and individuals to prepare for disasters of all sorts and sizes.

The current four-day storm isn't expected to swell the Sacramento or American Rivers to stages where they could threaten levees. But as of Friday, the storm was knocking down trees and streetlights and causing widespread power outages, stream flooding and other damage.

This isn't The Big One. But while you're stuck inside this weekend, you might want to spend a few minutes pondering if your household is prepared for The Big One.

Given that this is California, it could come later this winter or at any time.

The governor's Office of Emergency Services offers these tips:

• Collect and have handy important documents (insurance policies, vital records) you might need if you were to suddenly evacuate.
• Have an easy-to-carry emergency supply kit on hand with – at a minimum – food, water, medications, flashlight, battery-powered radio, rain gear and a first-aid kit.
• Keep your car fueled in case power is cut off at local gas stations.
• Identify the safe routes from your home or office to high ground.
• Establish an out-of-state "family contact" so that friends and relatives will know whom to call to get information about where you are.
• Keep sandbags, plywood, plastic sheeting, lumber and other materials handy for waterproofing.
• Avoid flooded roadways and waterways. Just six inches of water can sweep you away.
• If your car stalls in water, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground.

Here in Sacramento we would add a couple of other items to this list: Keep your storm drains clear of leaves and other debris, and before each year's storm season, make sure your big trees are checked by a certified arborist and properly trimmed of dead and dangerous branches.

If you are looking for other ideas, go to the federal government's readiness Web site.