Ding Ding

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The bell is ringing and if you aren’t hearing it let me point you to the news where at this point there are approximately 2,500 dead in Nepal. With a 7.8 magnitude earthquake striking mid day Saturday the casualty numbers are sure to rise further. Some may think we dodged a bullet by the earthquake striking Nepal and not some location within the United States such as Los Angeles, and we may have. For now. But the quake hitting Nepal was random and could very well, just as easily have been in downtown LA. If there’s one thing I’m certain of other than death and taxes is there will be an earthquake in Los Angeles.

Image: People gather near a collapsed house after major earthquake in Kathmandu

I will always remember my conversation with the LA Disaster Communications representative when I was volunteering with DSC. We spoke about the scenarios LA’s disaster team had run. There are approximately 60,000 law enforcement, 3,300  LA Fire Department personnel (1,100 on duty at any one time, only 270 of which are Paramedics) and 14,000,000 civilians here in Greater Los Angeles County. When a large scale event happens most of these professionals will be strained to a breaking point. Expecting there will be an ambulance ready to take you to the nearest hospital to get stitches is a pipe dream. There isn’t going to be anyone on the other end of your 911 call. Here’s the sobering fact though. Many people will die from the event itself, but an equal number may die from the aftermath of the event because they are woefully unprepared to sustain their own lives as well as their loved ones. Among the disaster response community it is well known people are not taking adequate steps to put in place the most basic of provisions to bridge the gap between an event and when infrastructure comes back on line.

You must prepare for a minimum of ten days of food and water, as well as clothing, shelter and basic first aid. Think about having at minimum, one gallon of water per person, per day in your family. This includes your pets. At minimum budget 2,000 calories per person, per day. During the aftermath you will undoubtedly be working to either secure and improve your immediate surroundings or working to help your neighbor or community. This work will require calories to resupply your body. If your home is damaged what is your backup plan? A tent in your yard? If so, that’s fine, but where is that tent? can you easily get to it if your structure is deemed unsafe to enter? When was the last time you set it up? Under stress can you set it up?

I need every one of my readers to begin to think critically about their situation and evaluate what you need to do to become prepared. The only one you hurt by not getting things ready isn’t just yourself, its potentially your whole family. It takes very little energy to organize and prepare, the toll if you do not is far too great.

I don’t care what your plan is, just have one.

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