These Tips Can Help Save Your Life by yaofenjin


									These Tips Can Help Save Your Life                                                                                           By Jeff Swenerton

1}            4}
    Figure out now
what you’d take if given
                           7}                           Get a wired landline
                                                    phone. Remember when the power
                                                                                                        Keep your eyes open
                                                                                                   for Osama. The Department of
10 minutes to evacuate.                             went out and the phones still worked? It’s
                                                    magic! Well, almost. It’s because phones
                                                                                                   Homeland Security has established an
                                                                                                   East Bay Terrorism Early Warning Group as
That’s what many homeowners in the
                                                    take very little power and can run off volts   an information hub for information about
recent San Diego wildfires were given.
                                                    supplied by the phone company by way of        possible terrorist activities in Alameda
Just 10 minutes to sort through a lifetime’s
                                                    a pair of copper wires. This strange quirk     and Contra Costa counties, and parts
accumulation. Think now about what you’d be
                                                    of physics doesn’t help you if you have a      south. On its Web site, www.eastbaytewg.
able to grab quickly. If you haven’t stored your
                                                    wireless handset, though, so make sure you     org, you can submit a tip when you’ve
important documents in a safe-deposit box or
                                                    stop by Best Buy or Radio Shack and pick       seen some suspicious behavior, including
fireproof safe in your house, the next-best thing
                                                    one up to store in the closet (or disaster     “suspicious surveillance conducted by
is to put them all in one place, ready to grab on
                                                    kit). You can get one for less than $10 and    unknown subjects in your neighborhood
the way out. What else would you take?
                                                    have enough change left over to buy an ice     without a reason to be there; lost or stolen
                                                    cream for the kids.                            identifications and personal documents;

                                                                                                   or, suspicious activity of persons entering

                                                                                                   dwellings at odd times during the evening.”
    Change your voice-                                                                             If you happen into a house that’s sparsely
                                                                                                   furnished, especially if it’s littered with
mail message to say that                     Get some kitty litter                                 extremist literature, says Duty Officer Chuck
you’re safe. With phone service spotty, for the disaster kit. Kitty                                Whitmarsh, submit a tip.
it’s possible that people won’t be able to get      litter is great for handling waste. And in

through to you. So if you manage to get into        a disaster, when privacy is at a minimum
your voice mail, change the message to say          and running water a vague but pleasant
that you’re safe. Note the disposition of any       memory, kitty litter can be reborn as a safe
other friends or relatives you know, along          but effective tool for keeping peace in the         Plant
with the current time. Include your location, if    family.                                        fire-wise
possible, and whether anyone else close to you                                                     plants. Area agencies,

is missing.                                                                                        such as the Oakland’s
                                                                                                   Public Works Department,

                                                         Check your smoke                          publish a list of plants native to
                                                    detector. According to Erroll Najee,           California that have naturally low
   Pull doors closed                                the president of Business Emergency            flammability or contain enough
when you leave. If your house is on                 Safety Training in Oakland, in nine out of     moisture to stand on their own
                                                                                                   during a wildfire (also at www.
fire, remember that life safety comes first. Call   10 fatal home fires, the smoke detectors
                                                    didn’t work. It’s an old saw, but replace
911 and get out. But if you can, pull the doors
                                                    your batteries annually at the same            Make sure to continue to
closed behind you. This will slow the spread of
                                                    time. Birthday? New year? Maybe your           water them, though,
the fire and buy firefighters more time. If you
                                                    anniversary, big guy?                          so they don’t become
get trapped in a room, signal that you need a
                                                                                                   fuel in a blaze.
rescue by hanging a sheet out the window.

9}  Don’t let your gas
tank drop below a
                                                 12}    Get trained in CPR
                                                 and first aid. The rule with
quarter full. When Oaklander Molly               disasters, and I heard this again and again,
                                                 is that you’re on your own. It could take
Coffey-Smith was evacuated from her house
in the Oakland Hills fire, she remembers         days for the first responders to reach
the lines stretching down the block at every     you—making them, well, fourth or fifth
gas station with people                          responders. There is a very good chance
topping off before                               that you will be able to perform CPR in your
the exodus. In case                              lifetime, and basic first aid comes in handy
you’re the guy who                               all the time, especially if you’re prone to
                                                 playing Iron Chef with your Wüsthof. Take a

uses the low-fuel
light as a gentle                                class from the Red Cross or get trained by
suggestion that                                  CERT and join a neighborhood team (www.
you might want to                                           Keep bleach
start thinking about                                                                             around. Generic, unscented bleach is

maybe stopping sometime                                                                          one of the most important things you can
for gas in the next few days, then hopefully                                                     have around during the apocalypse. It will
the thought of waiting in line at the station           For Pete’s sake,                         purify water (important because the sewer
will get you beating the light.                  man, get that heavy art                         lines run next to the fresh water lines and
                                                                                                 the two are expected to commingle in an
                                                 piece off the wall above                        earthquake) when you add just 16 drops

                                                 your bed.                                       to a gallon and shake. Heavily diluted, it
                                                                                                 will sterilize dishes and eating utensils and
        Be ready to shelter

                                                                                                 provide an antiseptic rinse for first-aid use.
in place. If the disaster involves                                                               Plus, it will get the soot stains out of your
hazardous material or airborne nasties,                                                          white disaster smock.
local emergency services officials say that               Obsess about every

residents may be required to “shelter in         little seismic event. The U.S.
place.” This means turning your house into       Geological Survey has a Web site that tracks
a plastic-wrapped bunker like Elliott’s in       every rattle and roll in the Bay Area, so if           Keep a pair of
                                                 you’re a geologic hypochondriac, this is
E.T. Or at least, turning off your air
conditioner and fans, closing windows            the site for you. It shows epicenters from
                                                                                                 shoes and a flashlight
and the fireplace damper, and staying in         quakes in the last hour, day and week. You      under the bed. Earthquakes can
an interior room, preferably one without         can report one that you feel, or just look at   break glass in windows and knock down
exterior windows. Get duct tape and plastic      the biggies. Check it out at http://quake.      vases, picture frames, ceramic curios and
sheeting to cover windows.                               that glass on your nightstand holding your
                                                                                                 thumbtack collection. In a moment that you

11}                                              15}
                                                                                                 want to be skedaddling out of your house
                                                                                                 as quickly as possible, you don’t want
           Back up your data                            Get a fire                               to be embedding your feet with sharps
                                                                                                 looking for a pair of shoes, because we all
online. We all know that survival is             extinguisher. I mean seriously,                 saw that movie. Keep the shoes in a plastic
the No. 1 priority, but do you know what         we’d be held in contempt of disaster            bag with a flashlight.
the 34th is? That’s right, saving your data.     preparedness awareness if we didn’t
You’ve spent zillions on music and taken         include “get a fire extinguisher.” The ABC-
thousands of mediocre photos, so figure out      type fire extinguishers are good for regular
a backup plan. Either burn DVDs and send         and electrical fires, and run from about $25
them regularly to Aunt Marge in Milwaukee,       for a single use to $40 for a rechargeable
or find an online storage site that allows you   one. Teach every family member PASS: pull
enough room for your stuff without breaking      the pin, aim at the base of the fire, squeeze
your pocket. Or however that cliché goes.        the trigger, sweep from side to side. Gone in
Check out My Docs Online, CrashPlan, Mozy,       15 seconds.
Amazon’s A3 or Steekup.
                                                 20}          Visualize. In times
                                                 of high stress, your first thoughts are
                                                                                                    23}    Designate two
                                                                                                    regroup places. If you have
                                                 automated actions, either reactions or             to evacuate pronto in the middle of the
                                                 what you’ve practiced. That’s why drills           night because of a disaster, you might find
                                                 are important in sports, the military and          a crowd on the street, so have a place
                                                 disaster preparedness. Practice by thinking        nearby—a neighbor’s front yard or a street
                                                 about what you’d do if the earthquake hit          corner—designated as a meeting point. Also
                                                 at home and at work. Where would you tell          pick another spot outside the neighborhood,
                                                 your family to take cover? What would you          in case you aren’t allowed back in after a
                                                 hide under? If your house caught on fire           disaster. Pick a spot that is centrally located
                                                 in the middle of the night, how would you          to all your workplaces and schools. Think
                                                 mobilize? How would you get out? What              “mom’s office” or “Alex’s house.” Post both
                                                 would you grab? Where would you meet?              places on your fridge along with the number
                                                                                                    of your out-of-state contact, so everything

                                                                                                    gets committed to memory.

18}        Make a car kit.            There’s
a very good chance you’ll be caught out,
                                                              Reinforce your
                                                 house. Most Alameda homes were
                                                 built before 1950, long before current             24}     Give your
either in your car or at work, so                seismic standards were in effect. To keep          kid a buck. Cell
make sure you have                               your house from sliding off its foundation         phones will almost certainly
a mini-disaster kit                                or buckling under itself, you need to            be expensive paperweights
in the car (and at                                   reinforce it. This isn’t as time consuming     during the inevitable outage,
work, if you take                                     or expensive as it sounds. You only           but the landline phones might
transit in). Put                                       really need to do three things: Bolt the     be working. Give your rugrat
a big bottle of                                        house to the foundation, reinforce the       a buck in quarters taped
water, Clif Bars                                       outside shear walls with plywood, and        together, with the instructions
(or other mobile                                         add shear transfer ties (like metal        that it be used to call you
food), sturdy shoes                                        brackets) to the floor joints. Even if   and then your out-of-state contact in an
(if you wear less-                                         you aren’t handy, you can do these       emergency. Write down both numbers for
functional shoes                                         things yourself (I’m told). Check out      them to keep in their backpacks—memories
at work), a first-aid                                   the contractors checklist at www.           can fail when panic sets in.
kit, disposable lighters,                   

cash in small bills, heavy gloves and a           plansets.html or do it yourself with the
small LED flashlight, all in a backpack for      guide at
maximum portability.                             GetRetrofitHandbook.pdf.
                                                                                                                 Actually do these
                                                                                                    things. There will be a big earthquake,
19}         Strap your water
heater. But not for the reason you think.
                                                 22}     Keep your
                                                 homeowners insurance
                                                                                                    which most likely will trigger fires on
                                                                                                    the Island and cause liquefaction. There
                                                                                                    definitely could be an awful El Niño that
                                                                                                    causes flooding. There might be a hazardous
Of course you don’t want a 400-pound             information in your wallet                         materials spill, tsunami or terrorist attack.
bowling pin rolling around in your garage,
but the main reason to batten down the           or purse. You’ve got your car insurance            There will be huge interjurisdictional
                                                                                                    confusion on the part of relief agencies,
heater is that you don’t want to lose your       information of course, but keep the toll-free
                                                 number of your homeowners or renters               and our supplies will most likely have to be
40-gallon supply of fresh water. When                                                               trucked in from Tracy and Stockton on roads
                   the quake hits, turn off      insurance company and your policy number
                                                 with you at all times. Many policies include       that will have to be fixed first, and bridges
                     the intake valve to                                                            that will have to be rebuilt. Make a real
                       prevent backsplash        “getting on your feet” coverage, providing
                                                 fast money for clothes, toiletries and hotel       commitment to making a plan for regrouping,
                        of contaminated                                                             getting your kit together and getting trained
                          water, and you’ve      stays, and the faster you can get the
                                                 process moving, the easier your transition         as a family in first aid and CPR. Learn to be
                            got enough to last                                                      self-sufficient for a week with no outside
                             you a month.        back to normal life.
                                                                                                    water, food or power. Find the time to
                                                                                                    prepare. n


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