Happy National Preparedness Month! We are probably more excited than we should be, but September is officially National Preparedness Month and for southern California residents, this is the perfect time to prepare. While east coast folks are starting to bundle up and prepare for winter weather, down here in Orange County, our weather is getting dryer by the day – and that means plant life, hillsides, and forests are getting dryer too. We are approaching wildfire season, as we do every fall, unfortunately.
Now, the word “wildfire” is can be somewhat misleading. It does not mean that the fire is out in wilderness (though they can be); but it actually refers to fires that are wildly out of control! Leave it to Orange County’s Santa Ana winds to bring Southern California’s coastal cities dry air, dry shrubbery and the perfect timber for wildfires. It’s as if our normal weather is too good to be true, and the fall brings us back in check. Land moisture vanishes and results in huge disasters, even from what begins as a small fire.
Another natural disaster phenomenon that we see more in California around this time: Earthquakes. Ever unpredictable, earthquakes can cause not only property damage but fires and floods as well – a whole new set of property damage risk. How can Orange County residents protect themselves? Well, that’s where National Preparedness Month comes in. To educate, and to prepare. National Preparedness Month is brought to you by the “Ready Campaign“, part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
The experts at Milestone Building Group encourage you to design an emergency plan specific to your family and property – and review and rehearse that plan. Statistics indicate that families are more likely to survive a disaster if they practice their emergency plan. “We recommend that each family member creates/receives a basic emergency kit, make the plan, and stay updated,” explains Eli Shapiro, owner of Milestone Building Group in Orange County. “Here’s our most important items to include in your basic emergency kit.”
- Food – at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
- Water – one gallon per person per day for at least three days
- Clothing – A change of clothing and a sleeping bag for each person
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Cell Phone and charger
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio, a NOAA Weather Radio, extra batteries
- Duct tape, heavy weight garbage bags, plastic sheeting – to protect against debris and toxins
- Filter masks – cover mouth and nose with 2-3 layers of a cotton T-shirt, towels or filter mask
- First aid kit – sterile gloves; adhesive bandages; antibiotic ointment; gauze pads; iodine/alcohol pads; medical tape; pain reliever; emergency Mylar blanket; thermometer; prescription medications, and prescribed medical supplies.
- Waterproof, portable containers – for documents like IDs, insurance policies, bank account records, site maps, employee contact, computer backup files, emergency and law enforcement information, and other priority documents. Store a second set of records at an off-site location.
Remember to not only protect your own family, but encourage others to prepare as well! Recommend the basics to your extended family, your friends and co-workers: everyone should know about planning for the fires, earthquakes and other impending disasters that we could face. We have experienced some unprecedented weather and disasters already this year, so being aware and ready for them isn’t just smart, it’s essential! With some fires already raging in Southern California, major floods could be close behind once rains begin in wintertime.
If you are hit with a fire or flood, Milestone Building Group is available for any water, fire and mold damage clean up and restoration services. Call us anytime, 24 hours a day, or fill out our contact form if you need further information.