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Our View - Do you need more reason to prepare?

Posted: January 22, 2010 5:14 p.m.
Updated: January 24, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 
We’ve now spent almost two weeks taking in the sight of absolute devastation in Haiti, caused by a magnitude 7 earthquake that took seconds to radically disrupt life in that poor island nation.

Last Monday marked the 16th anniversary of the magnitude 6.8 Northridge Earthquake that rocked the Santa Clarita Valley.

Recently, we’ve been so caught up in the onslaught of rain and dire predictions of devastating mudslides that it’s been easy to overlook the recent quakes of varying magnitude that have rattled remote areas of the Southern California deserts, like so many birth pangs of a coming disaster.

The bottom line is this: We live in a world constantly on the precipice of natural disasters.

Our community sits in the midst of potential wildfires, flooding and earthquakes. And yet a quarter-million of us still choose to live here.

The question is: Are you prepared?

With the reminders of suffering in Haiti, the Southland’s weather woes and the anniversary of the Northridge quake, it should be everyone’s priority to be prepared for disaster.

“The big one” is going to hit. Geologists say it’s inevitable.

It is going to wreak absolute havoc on at least some part of Southern California.

It could be here.

Are you ready for that, physically, mentally — emotionally?

Taking the time now to prepare an emergency plan is better than scrambling, trying to figure out what to do next when tragedy strikes our community.

First, hold a family meeting. What will you do if your kids are at school and you are at work when a disaster strikes?

Identify an out-of-the-area family member or friend whom everyone can call with location and status updates. Establish a location for everyone to meet if possible.

Check out the Santa Clarita city Web site at www.santa-clarita.com/community/safety/emergencymgmt.asp.

It offers plenty of tips for preparing for earthquakes and other natural disasters. Other good disaster preparedness sites are earthquake.usgs.gov/prepare/ and www.fema.gov/areyouready/earthquakes.shtm.

Finally, put together an earthquake preparedness kit, and make sure every member of your household knows where it is. Make sure your kit is stored in a location that’s as “earthquake-proof” as possible. Include enough water and food to see you through several days. A radio with extra batteries and a first-aid kit are also “musts.”

Earthquakes can be terrifying, but knowing what to do when the ground stops shaking can make the experience less fearful.

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