May 18

Want to rest in peace?

If you sleep 8 hours a day there is a 1 in 3 chance that you’ll be in bed when disaster strikes. How prepared is your bedroom?

Here’s a quick checklist to see how ready you are to rest in peace, knowing you’ve done what you can:
____ Do you have an old pair of closed toe and heel shoes under your bed (or in a plastic grocery bag tied to your bed frame) to help you avoid getting broken glass in your feet when you evacuate?
____ Do you have a stash of drinking water within reach of your bed in case you get trapped there? (A case or two of the 8oz bottled water can fit nicely under most beds or in a nightstand drawer.)
____ Do you have a small pry bar under your bed so you can self-rescue if bedroom doors get jammed shut?
____ Do you have a bedside disaster kit pinned to your mattress? “What’s that?” you ask. Here’s a recipe for making your own:

Bedside Disaster Kit Recipe:
Take a quart-sized zip-close bag. Insert a space blanket for protection from rain, cold, sun and wind; a dust mask to prevent respiratory failure from post-quake airborne debris during evacuation or debris created while being rescued; a light stick to light your way as you evacuate (unlike a flashlight or cell phone a light stick won’t create the potential to ignite leaking gas; and a whistle – blow 3 times for “I need help” to attract rescuers if you are trapped. Blow 1 time for “Yes” and 2 times for “No” if rescuers ask yo questions and you are too weak or not loud enough to be heard. Pin the bag full of supplies to the side of every mattress near the head of the bed (so you can reach it) and then pull the fitted sheet over it so as not to spoil your decor.

Don’t forget to mitigate hazards:
____ Move beds from under windows, if possible. If not, be sure to close window coverings before retiring.
____ Eliminate heavy pictures or mirrors from the walls above the head of beds (or at least secure them with fasteners designed to make them less likely to fall on you in an earthquake).
____ Reduce and secure the number of trophies and other objects that can go airborne.
____ Strap furniture that can topple onto beds to the walls.
____ Close bedroom doors before retiring as a fire safety precaution.

You can now rest in peace knowing that you and your loved ones are much better prepared for that 1 in 3 chance.

May 03

Want to avoid a mess and lessen stress? Put a latch on those cabinets!

Open all your kitchen and other cabinets that don’t have latches. Then picture all those contents going airborne before crashing to the floor. Flying objects as well as toppling furniture are the main causes of injury in earthquakes. Think about it. Besides the injury risk, do you really want to clean up the mess? By putting child-proof or other latches on cabinets you won’t necessarily prevent damage to the contents, but you will, hopefully, reduce the risk of injury and contain the mess to inside the cabinet, thus making post-earthquake clean up a lot easier. Less post-disaster mess will help lower your stress level in what is likely to be a very stressful time.

Find latches a hassle so don’t want to install them? Then at least move your heavier dishes and other cabinet contents to your lower cabinets and shelves. Use the upper shelves and upper cabinets for lighter things that are less likely to harm you if they go airborne and fall. Avoid putting flammable things, like cookbooks and plastic ware, in the cabinets above and right next to your stove. If the quake happens while cooking they can ignite and quickly fuel a fire.

Apr 29

Become a 3 Bucket Family

Why do families need 3 buckets in wide-area disasters?

1. Water… In a major disaster you will want to have one never used bucket with lid to hold drinking water that you may need to collect from local water service holding tanks or emergency water delivery trucks, or to store water after you have purified it. Even if you store a 2 week supply of emergency water for your family, if pipes are damaged in the disaster it may be weeks or months before normal water and sewer services can be restored. During that time you will be getting water from non-traditional sources. Be sure to keep the lid on the water bucket to prevent evaporation and potential loss to spillage.

2. Sewer… Until water AND sewer services are fully restored, you won’t be able to use your toilets. A 5-gallon bucket with lid that is lined with plastic trash bags can become your emergency toilet. When you need to “flush” simply take out the filled trash bag, tie it off and reline the bucked with a new bag. Be sure to keep the lid on the bucket between uses to avoid a potential drowning hazard for small children and pets, and to keep the odor down. Kitty litter sprinkled on the sewage after emergency toilet use can also limit odor.

3. Washing… Whether you need to bathe or wash dishes or clothes, a bucket provides a handy container for those purposes. This washing bucket can also be used if you need to create bucket brigades from neighborhood pools to extinguish or limit the spread of residential or brush fires. This same bucket can also be used to collect and remove debris, especially in aiding search and rescue efforts in the first few days following a major disaster, as well as in the clean up and debris removal during post-disaster recovery.

Apr 20

How to: Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

The ShakeOut campaign and earthquake experts around the globe recommend that as soon as the shaking starts you should Drop to the ground, take Cover under a table or desk (or at least cover your head and neck with your arms and hands), and Hold On! to the leg of the table or desk to keep it over at least your head and neck but preferably over your entire body. Sounds simple enough, but the effectiveness is in the details…

Drop – By dropping to the ground as soon as the shaking starts (NOT waiting to see if the shaking gets worse) you reduce the likelihood of serious injury or even death that can result from trying to stand, walk or run during ground shaking. Immediately drop to your knees in the fetal position and put your hands and arms over the back of your head and neck in an almost butterfly fashion – as if trying to touch the back of each shoulder with the opposite hand.

Do NOT try to run outdoors. The outside walls of buildings take the sheer force of the building’s motion during shaking so are most susceptible to collapse or falling debris from structural damage.

Cover – If possible, try to seek cover under a table or desk to protect you from potential falling debris, toppling furniture, and flying unsecured objects. Ideally get your entire body under the table or desktop. If that is not possible, try to get at least your head and neck under the table, desk or even a chair. Make sure your head and neck are half way between the underside of the table or desktop and the ground – because both will be moving in a major quake and either one can injure you. Stay under cover until the shaking stops. If there is no table or desk near where you dropped to the ground, seek cover next to an inside wall or next to a sofa or chair. Use either the sofa cushion, or your hands and arms as described above, to protect your head and neck. If in bed, stay in bed. Roll into the fetal position and use your bed pillow to protect your head and neck.

Do NOT seek Cover in a doorway. In wood framed homes doorways are less safe than dropping and taking cover next to inside walls or under a table or desk. Running to doorways in public places during a quake cannot only create injuries but potential death from stampede. Exterior wall doorways are most dangerous. If you are in an adobe (mud) or older unreinforced brick building in which the walls are likely to crumble in a major quake, then getting to a doorway may be safer than remaining unprotected. The old “get to a doorway” advice was based on the fact that the doorway is the only wooden structure in adobe (mud) homes and mud crumbles when strongly shaken. Swinging doors and the sheer back and forth motion of the building during shaking have injured many people who have sought refuge in doorways in even moderate quakes.

Hold On! – We mean this literally! If you sought cover under a table or desk, you will want to keep that cover over our body until the shaking stops. Both the ground and the table or desk will be moving. So Hold On! to the leg of the desk or table somewhere above the halfway point of the furniture leg yet NOT at the top. Then do whichever is easier – either Hold On! and crawl along with the furniture as it moves (as long as it is safe to do so), or Hold On! and try to keep the furniture from moving away from you.

When the shaking stops Do NOT be in too big of a hurry to leave your place of cover. Ceiling tiles, light fixtures, and supports for drop ceilings may be dangling at head and eye height. There is also likely to be broken glass and debris all around you. Unsecured furniture may have toppled and be blocking your exit route. So proceed with extreme caution. Remember that strong aftershocks are likely within a matter of minutes after a major quake. You need to be prepared to Drop, Cover and Hold ON! for each aftershock.

But what about that “new” advice in the Triangle of Life email I got??? The Triangle of Life theory has been discredited by experts. Please see:

Apr 20

Preparedness: Where do I start?

Start with yourself:

  • Take inventory of and organize what disaster supplies you already have. Do they include:
    • A supply of emergency drinking water for at least two weeks or a means of purifying water plus a source of water if the water delivery infrastructure fails?  Is at least some of yor water supply portable in case you must evacuate the area?
    • An emergency supply of life-sustaining medications?
    • A first aid kit?
    • A means of protecting yourself from the sun, wind, rain and cold if you must evacuate?
    • An emergency toilet or other means of containing human waste?
    • Comfortable closed toe shoes in case you must walk long distances and/or over debris and broken glass?
    • Will these supplies be readily accessible and portable if you must evacuate and cannot re-enter your home?
    • Do you have stashes of supplies where you spend your time – at home, work, school, and in your vehicle?
  • Make a commitment to yourself to procure needed supplies ASAP.
  • Identify the role(s) you want to be able to play in response to disasters.
    • Do you have the training you need to play those roles without putting yourself or others at risk of injury or death?  Is that training current?
    • Do you have any physical, mental, or emotional challenges that might impair your ability to play those roles?
    • Do you have any special needs that must be met in order for you to respond?  (Like caring for loved ones or pets?) If yes, are you or someone else prepared to meet those needs?
  • Make a commitment to yourself to get the training you need ASAP and to keep your skills current once trained.
  • Do you have a plan as to what you will do if away from home or if your home is unsafe to occupy when disaster strikes?
    • Have you communicated that plan to loved ones?
    • Do you have an out of state contact through whom you can communicate if you must change your plan after the disaster strikes?  Is your out of state contact’s information programmed in your cell phone and/or do you have their phone number memorized?
  • Take the time NOW to develop and communicate your emergency plan and to program emergency contacts under your phone “In Case of Emergency” setting and/or with the letters ICE for local emergency contacts and OOS for “Out Of State” contacts in front of the person’s name.

Once you have prepared yourself, then move on to prepare your family and other loved ones and get involved in making sure your immediate neighbors and local community members are prepared to help one another in major disasters as well as every day emergencies.

Apr 10

Got water?

Did you know you can only survive for 4 days without water?  That’s why trapped victim “rescue” efforts typically become “body recovery” efforts by the 5th day after a disaster.  As we are now seeing in Japan in what are the third and fourth days since the 8.9 quake and tsunami, the most vital need for those who have thus far survived this catastrophe is drinking water.  Because it is winter and we can typically only survive 4 hours without maintaining our body temperature, shelter is also a critical need for survivors.  Most of us can live off of our body fat for 4 weeks, so the need for food is less critical than the need for water.  What the news fails to cover is that in major wide-area disasters like the recent quake in Haiti and now potentially in the northeastern part of Japan, the death toll can and often does rise among those who survive due to lack of available potable drinking water after the quake.

If the San Andreas, San Jacinto, or Elsinore fault were to rupture today, do you have enough stored emergency water to provide your family members at least 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least two weeks? That’s roughly 5 cases of twenty-four 16oz bottles of water per person, and don’t forget your pets.  Those who plan to be active in search and rescue, the elderly, infants and small children and pregnant and nursing mothers need twice that much water.

Bottled water is good for two years from the manufacturer’s bottling date.  A two-week supply will coast you less than $25 per person if you buy it on sale.  Keep a stash in your vehicle, at your desk, under or next to your bed, and where your family spends a lot of their time.  It may save your life.

Mar 14

Loma Linda University Disaster Fair

The purpose of this event is to inform the more than 200 Loma Linda University Shared Services Safety Coordinators about various community services relating to emergency and disaster preparedness. They, in turn, will take this information back to their respective departments and inform their staff about these services.  We have been asked by  the ShakeOut campaign leadership to give a 5-7 minute presentation at 11:20am and to staff an information booth between 9am and 5pm. Volunteers are needed!

Mar 14

CERT Training – Western Riverside County

This 3-day FEMA endorsed and funded volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training prepares you to be a volunteer emergency responder in disasters. Among the skills you will learn and practice are how to: suppress light fires, search for and rescue lightly trapped victims, sort and stabilize (triage) the injured, organize and lead volunteers, and much more.  Training is FREE and requires a 20-hour commitment.  Training begins on Friday evening from 5:30pm to 9:30pm then continues on Saturday and Sunday from 8:00am to 5:00pm each day.

For more information and a list of upcoming classes visit the CERT tab on this website or http://www.rivcocert.org

Mar 14

CERT Training – Lake Elsinore

This 3-day FEMA endorsed and funded volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training prepares you to be a volunteer emergency responder in disasters. Among the skills you will learn and practice are how to: suppress light fires, search for and rescue lightly trapped victims, sort and stabilize (triage) the injured, organize and lead volunteers, and much more.  Training is FREE and requires a 20-hour commitment.

For more information and a list of upcoming classes visit our CERT tab or http://www.rivcocert.org

Mar 13

ShelterBox Fundraiser for Sendai*

As you may know, Sendai, the largest Japanese city closest to the epicenter of the recent 9.0 earthquake and capital of one of two prefectures ravaged by tsunami, has been a sister city of Riverside, CA for more than 50 years. Tens of thousands in Sendai and what is now estimated at more than 300,000 in the surrounding area have been left homeless – lacking even the basic necessities to get on with their lives.

Jurupa Citizen Corps is partnering with a growing number of groups and organizations in raising funds from what was originally the people of the new cities of Eastvale and Jurupa Valley, but has now been expanded to include the entire Inland Empire, to provide ShelterBox disaster relief supplies to the Japanese quake and tsunami victims.*

Please join us in this effort.  Add your organization or group or even yourself as a partner in our Team Inland Empire fund raising or  donate and help us reach our goal to send at least 15 ShelterBoxes (at roughly $950.00 each – which includes transportation and set up assistance) to the victims of this disaster. Any amount you can spare will help make an immediate and tangible difference to some displaced family. To become a fund raising partner, donate or establish your personal fund raising goal as part of our overall Team Inland Empire, please click here: https://shelterboxusa.myetap.org/fundraiser/reps/team.do?participationRef=1056.0.448193506

Why ShelterBox?

Please watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/user/ShelterBoxUK

The ShelterBox solution in disaster response is as simple as it is effective. ShelterBox delivers the essentials a displaced family needs to survive in the immediate aftermath of a disaster. Each large, green ShelterBox is tailored to a disaster but typically contains a disaster relief tent for an extended family, blankets, water storage and purification equipment, cooking utensils, a stove, a basic tool kit, a children’s activity pack and other vital items.  In the U.S. Shelter box operations are headquartered in Florida. You can follow ShelterBox deployment activities and responder updates at: http://shelterbox.org/

Sample ShelterBox Contents

Sample ShelterBox Contents

* ShelterBox is almost always responding to multiple disasters simultaneously around the world.  As they are doing in Japan they respond immediately, even before any funds are donated in public response to a new disaster.  They can not promise that your particular donation will go to any specific disaster or location like the city of Sendai, yet do promise it will go where the immediate disaster relief need is great and/or to purchase supplies to have an inventory of ShelterBoxes on hand so they can immediately respond to the next major disaster – which, as we all know, will one day be right here in southern California.

To see details of what’s in a typical box click here.  If you would like to learn about becoming a ShelterBox Response Team member please click here.

ShelterBox Tent

ShelterBox Tent provides housing for up to 10 people

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