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September is National Preparedness Month: Is your family ready for an emergency?  

A wildfire, earthquake, or any other natural disaster that could hit Southern California means you might have to make split-second decisions and be ready to act in a moment.   

Being prepared comes down to four simple steps: be informed, make a plan, create an emergency kit and stay involved.

  • Be informed: You can sign up for emergency alerts in your local area. For example, Alert LA County is a free mass notification system for Los Angeles County residents and businesses and will send you an alert during a countywide emergency.  
  • Make a plan: Knowing emergency routes and ways to evacuate from places you frequent, like your work and, of course, your home.   

Preparedness also means knowing how you will communicate with family and others in case of an emergency. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) suggests having multiple phone numbers for loved ones written down.  

For older adults with special circumstances, the agency suggests adding the contacts for caretakers or doctors to that list.     

Also, add one person who lives out of state who can be a main contact. If communication breaks down, that person can inform others on how you and your family are doing.    

FEMA suggests using text messages, social media and emails to connect during emergencies. Mobile networks can become overwhelmed, making it hard to make and receive phone calls. Text messages require less bandwidth.   

  • Create an emergency kit: Stock it with items like first aid kit, flashlight, water, a radio and a portable phone charger. Electricity could be out for hours or even days.     
  • Stay involved: If you can help then consider doing so. During a disaster response, affected communities depend heavily on local and national volunteer organizations and people to assist financially or with food and clothing donations. 

Source: NBC Los Angeles

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