Lead Yourself FIRST–Plan and Prepare!

With the recent spate of earthquakes in northern California and Haiti, a lot of folks are thinking about emergency preparedness for themselves and their family. Don’t believe that you are in an “earthquake-free” zone (earthquakes happen everywhere–the largest in the US was in Missouri) or that other events can’t happen. The list below is useful for fire, flood and other disasters.

Here’s a list from a local emergency prep expert. Please forward it to family and friends.


Lynnea Hagen, M.S.

Generally, to be prepared for an emergency, whether it is an earthquake, flood, fire or other event that requires immediate evacuation, are the following:

1. Family plan: Primary and secondary points to meet, especially if scattered at work and school; for us it is the House and secondary is Station 8.

2. Mobilization kit: Important family documents – copies of driver’s license, SSAN, passports, photos of family members, birth certificates; cash; ready to grab and run.

3. First Aid kit: Include family member prescription meds. Include water treatment tablets (MicroPur); Benedryl, Ibuprofen, Immodium, and sterile eyewash.

4. Supplies: Think camping equipment: tent; sleeping bags, tarps; portable stove; nonperishable food items; water treatment; Foul weather gear – raincoat, boots.

5. Cleanup Gear: For staying in the House, you’ll need gloves, including chemical resistant type; shoes; duct tape; plastic tarps (cover windows, roof, etc.), eye protection; and access to tools.

6. Food, Water, Etc.: Don’t go overboard; in an urban setting, food and water will generally be available in short order; but if you have allergies, (i.e., peanut), store some of your favorites; don’t forget treats for the kids and pet food for the animals.

7. Outside Area Phone contact: land lines will be useless and restricted; text messaging will probably work. If possible arrange for an outside area relative to contact since intra-area phone service may be disrupted.

Working in the Red Cross Shelter in Louisiana following Hurricane Katrina, I noticed that the single most critical item that people failed to have was Item No. 2 – and it’s the only thing on the list that cannot be provided to you once you are evacuated.