While my wife and I have eight grandchildren, and we love each and every one, today we are celebrating a cover girl. Our youngest, only one year old, was selected and appears on this cover. We are very proud and I could not help but share the event.
This just in:
War in the Mid-East, Russia and U. S. at odds, China disregarding everyone else, our culture is going to hell, income is down, prices are going up, and young people can’t stop staring at their smart phones.
Some things never seem to change.
While it’s not my nature to be pessimistic, given all of the above same old news, and other recent events including terrorist threats and natural disasters, it’s sometimes difficult to be positive.
It was only last month when our phone rang at 3:30 a.m. and our youngest son was shouting into the phone, “Are you alright?” He and his family had just evacuated their shaking home in the midst of a terrible earthquake. A house nearby had caught fire and a man was yelling “help me” in the dark. Our son still cannot get into the building where his business is located and his young kids are still having nightmares. It was truly a frightening disaster.
So, what should we learn from all this? Well, as one of my favorite authors M. Scott Peck began his classic The Road Less Traveled, “Life is difficult. This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.”
We cannot predict disasters, we only know they can and will occur. The best we can do is to be as prepared as possible. After doing a review of several emergency preparedness materials and web sites, I decided to share the following information gleaned from a power company. I also looked at a number of government sites designed to give emergency instructions, the ones our tax dollars sponsor, and found most of them very confusing and complicated. That is, except the one that stated “This page not available.” It figures.
I hope this will be informative. Perhaps you can print it out and begin your plan or update an existing plan as needed.
I would add one thing to the items below. My son told me the man whose house caught fire and was yelling for help wanted someone to turn off the gas valve. It was difficult finding the right tool in the dark. I suggest tieing the appropriate wrench to the valve itself making it very easy to find, light or no light.
Get ready for natural disasters before they happen
- Prepare an emergency plan and conduct an emergency drill with your family.
- Prepare an emergency evacuation plan for your home. Each room should have at least 2 ways to escape in case one is blocked. Establish a place where your family can reunite after an emergency.
- If you live in an apartment, know the locations of emergency exits, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers.
- Make sure children, house guests and childcare providers know your safety
By planning and practicing what to do, you can condition yourself and your family to react correctly when an emergency occurs.
- Establish an alternative way to contact others that may not be home, such as an out-of-the-area telephone contact. During some emergencies such as an earthquake, completing local telephone calls may be difficult, it may be easier to telephone someone out of the area.
- Prepare and maintain anemergency preparedness kit with enough supplies on hand to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days, and preferably up to one week.
- Know when and how to turn offelectricity, water and gas at the main switch and valves.
- Evaluate your homefor safety; including ensuring your home can withstand a serious earthquake or other emergency.
- Always store flammable material safely away from ignition sources like water heaters, furnaces and stoves.
- Be sure smoke alarms are installed throughout your home. If the smoke alarm runs on batteries, or has battery back-up power, replace batteries at least once per year. If the low battery warning beeps, replace the battery immediately. All smoke alarms in your house should be tested every month using the alarm test button.
- Keep fire extinguishers in your home, and know how to use them before they are needed. You should keep a fire extinguisher in high-risk areas such as the kitchen and workshop.
Know what to do after an emergency
- Ensure that everyone is safe.
- Inspect your building for damage. Do not use electrical switches, appliances or telephones if you suspect a gas leak since sparks may ignite gas.
- If you smell gas, hear gas escaping, see a broken gas line, or if you suspect a gas leak, evacuate the building. Find a phone away from the building and call PG&E or 9-1-1 immediately. If it is safe to do so,turn off the gas service shutoff valve normally located near the gas meter. Do not shut off the gas service shutoff valve unless you find the presence of any one of these conditions because there may be a considerable delay before PG&E can turn your service back on.
- If leaking gas starts to burn, do not try to put the flame out. Call 9-1-1 and PG&E immediately. If it is safe to do so,turn off the gas service shutoff valve normally located near the gas meter.
- Once the gas is shut off at the meter, do not try to turn it back on yourself. Only PG&E or another qualified professional should turn the gas back on.
- Check for downed or damaged electric utility lines. Never touch wires lying on the ground, wires hanging on poles, or objects that may be touching them. Downed wires may still be carrying current and could shock, injure or even kill if touched.
- Check for damaged household electrical wiring andturn off the power at the main electric switch if you suspect any damage. If the power goes out, turn off all electric appliances, and unplug major electric appliances to prevent possible damage when the power is turned back on.
Emergency Preparedness Kit
Prepare and maintain an emergency kit with enough supplies to be self-sufficient for at least three days and preferably up to one week.
The kit should include:
- Flashlights with extra batteries
- Battery-powered radio with extra batteries
- One-week supply of water
- One-week supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
- Alternative cooking source
- A first aid kit and handbook
- A-B-C multipurpose fire extinguisher
- Extra medication for those who need prescription drugs
- Adjustable pipe or crescent wrench to turn off the gas and water supply
- Chlorine bleach and instructions for purifying water
- Blankets, warm clothes, sturdy shoes and heavy gloves
- Candles and matches. If you must use candles, use extreme caution due to the risk of fire. Keep candles away from small children and do not leave candles unattended.
Once again, I want to thank those of you who have been supportive of my wife Trisha since her surgery. Let me just say she is doing great and already planning our next travel adventure. I’m very proud of her and she has managed her rehab as she managed her business tasks in the past. Thanks again.