The Placer County Board of Supervisors has declared September as Emergency Preparedness Month, an action taken during its meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 26.
Because of its diverse geography, Placer Countyhas a significant potential for emergencies, most commonly floods, fires and serious winter storms. However, many other kinds of emergencies are also possible, including problems caused by people, such as hazardous material incidents and major transportation accidents. Public health emergencies such as pandemic influenza could also occur.
“When residents are prepared for emergencies, they can respond more calmly and take protective actions more effectively,” said Bill Santucci, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors. “Additionally, when residents are prepared, emergency responders such as fire and law personnel, can more easily focus on the most serious situations.”
Supervisor Santucci offers the following emergency preparedness tips, some of which were recently highlighted by the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.
1. Identify your risks. For example, if you live near a creek that has previously flooded in winter storms, be prepared with sandbags. Monitor local radio and television stations during bad weather or potential emergency situations.
2. Create a family disaster plan. Decide where to meet if you are evacuated and identify an out-of-state relative you can agree to call. Plan how you’ll take care of your family’s pets.
3. Practice your family disaster plan. Go to the specific meeting place you agree upon.
4. Build a disaster supply kit for your home and car. Include at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and water for all family members including your pets. It should contain a first aid kit, battery-powered radio and flashlights with extra batteries. Also pack a change of clothing and footwear, blankets and needed medications. In the event of pandemic influenza, residents should consider setting aside 10 days to two weeks worth of supplies.
5. Prepare your children for the possibility of emergencies. Talk about what the risks are and what they should do. Teach them to call 9-1-1 to report an emergency situation.
6. Remember to plan for people who have special needs, such as infants, seniors and people with disabilities. Include the special supplies they may need, such as foods for infants. Also, consider the needs of neighbors or family members who might need help in evacuating.
7. Learn first aid and CPR. Call the American Red Cross about classes; in PlacerCountycall 530-885-9392. Your training could save the life of a loved one or neighbor following an emergency.
8. Eliminate the hazards in your home or workplace whenever possible. Secure tall furniture and water heaters so they don’t fall down during an earthquake. Make sure you have 100 feet of defensible space around your home to help protect it from wild land fire.
9. Understand post 9-11 risks. In the event of a chemical or toxic exposure – or bombs and explosives – do not panic. If you hear an explosion, take cover under a sturdy table, then exit as quickly as possible. If you are trapped in debris, cover your mouth with clothing to avoid breathing dust. Whistle or tap on a pipe or wall to alert rescuers.
10. Become a volunteer. Take classes to become part of an American Red Cross disaster action team or Community Emergency Response Team. Give blood. Volunteer as part of a Fire Safe Council. The Placer County Office of Emergency Services (OES) has added additional information about personal and family disaster preparedness. Of special interest are children’s coloring books, planning checklists, tips for helping children, the elderly and people with disabilities. Residents can visit the Placer OES web page at www.placer.ca.gov/Departments/CEO/Emergency.aspx to download these materials. To arrange for an emergency preparedness presentation, call 530-886-5300.