all hazardBy Brenda Gazzar brenda.gazzar@langnews.com,@bgazzar on Twitter

After the 1994 Northridge earthquake, Don Sampson had no fresh water in his home for a week and no electricity for at least three days. But the retired Los Angeles city firefighter was so prepared that his neighbors in Woodland Hills turned to him for help.
“I had enough of a water supply to share with some of my neighbors here who had pets that they didn’t have any water for,” Sampson said. “It really wasn’t a problem for me.”
Sampson had 20 gallons of water stored in 5-gallon buckets sealed with lids and plenty of canned goods to take care of himself and his then-teen daughter. It took three days for the National Guard to bring out their water tanks and bottled water for residents, he said. Today, he has a 55-gallon drum of water that can carry 400 pounds and is helping some of his friends prepare for the Big One.
“People are reactionary when it comes to earthquakes,” said Jeff Edelstein, owner of SOS Survival Products in Van Nuys. “When an earthquake hits, they use that as a catalyst to get prepared. Our goa l is to get people prepa red before disaster hits.”

People should be able to take care of themselves if there’s no running water, gas or electricity in their home rather than having to rely on finding a shelter or food somewhere, Edelstein said.
Advance planning is the first key in surviving natural and other disasters such as earthquakes, flooding and fires.
“The most important thing is to be prepared for any type of hazard or threat,” says Ken Kondo, an emergency program manager for the Los Angeles Count y Office of Emergency Management. “It could be a power outage by a car hitting a power pole in their neighborhood and all of a sudden, the power’s out.”
The best way to prepare is to identify the hazards and threats in your particular community — whether you live near hillsides that are at risk for mudslides or near the coast and are vulnerable to tsunamis and beach erosion. Tornadoes, hurricanes and windstorms have all occurred during past El Niño seasons and can affect unsecured outdoor furniture as well as pets and barn animals that are not properly sheltered, Kondo said.
Second, you should develop an emergency or disaster plan for those threats that include a communications component. In the event of a disaster, family members should have a place to reunite with one another and also pick an out-of-state contact, such as a relative or friend, then text, email or call before all communications systems go down, he said.
Kondo said all of his family members have the cellphone number of his friend in Texas and know to text him a quick message following a disaster. That way he knows that everyone is OK and can communicate that to the rest of the family.
Land lines also are important to have at home in the event that a cellphone goes down, he said.
Third, people should stay informed and get connected now to prepare for a disaster. Kondo recommends getting a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service radio to hear about different watches, warnings and advisories and a battery operated or hand-cranked radio.
One can listen to emergency news alerts on stations such as KNX (1070) AM radio and KFI (640) AM. Batteries should be on hand and kept in a dry place so they are readily available to use, he said.
Fourth, people should get trained and get involved.
The Los Angeles County Fire Department’s Community Emergency Response Training program offers basic training in safety and lifesaving skills for the public. The goal is to help members of the public rely on one another to meet immediate lifesaving and lifesustaining needs. The reason is that police, fire and medical personnel may not be able to f ully meet the demand following a major disaster, officials said.
Also, make sure you have emergency kits at home, at work a nd in your c a r, Kondo said. If you work out , he suggested having one in your gym or fitness facility as well. The kit should include comfortable shoes in case you need to navigate broken glass or walk long distances — such as from work to home — following a major disaster.
Edelstein has flashlights, light sticks and lanterns as well as power failure lights in just about every room in his San Fernando Valley home. He also keeps a flashlight under his bed in his emergency kit so that it’s not thrown around and then lost during a major quake.
His kit includes a whistle, which is more effective than yelling or screaming to call attention if trapped. He also keeps a small crowbar handy to pry open a door or window if he needs to get out.
Edelstein also keeps an extra pair of glasses in his kit and recommends talking to your doctor about how you can get any lifesustaining medications in the event of a disaster.
A Los Angeles County Emergency Survival Guide is available by calling 211 or 323-980-2260 or by visiting www.lacounty.gov/emergency.

ESSENTIAL EMERGENCY SUPPLIES
Water for 3-10days
(1gallon per person per day) Food for 3-10days (including pet food) First-aid kit and instructions Flashlights and extra batteries Radio (and extra batteries) Medications (prescription and nonprescription) Cash and important documents (birth certificates, deeds, titles, insurance papers, medical cards) Clothing and sturdy shoes Tools (wrench, duct tape, fire extinguisher, sturdy gloves, whistle) Sanitation and hygiene supplies
Source: County of Los Angeles Emergency Survival Guide

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