Some tips for putting together a disaster preparedness kit on a tight budget:
Ask yourself some basic questions: What will I need to stay warm or cool? What will I need to store water and food in? (Tip: you can use empty soda bottles after you wash them with soap and hot water for water containers.) What will I need to see in the dark? What will I need to eat, drink, and cook with? What will I need to build a make-shift shelter? What will comfort me and give me a sense of relief (i.e., comfort foods, travel-sized lotions that smell good or a favorite book)?
Look at what you already have in your home. Think about clothing, sleeping bags, blankets, flashlights or headlamps, backpacking stove, duct tape, tools, can opener, batteries, whistle, pet supplies, plastic bags, utensils, personal care items, shoes, gloves, hard hat and matches.
Look in your pantry! Do you have extra canned tuna (packed with water) or cans of soup? Both may help hydrate you in a pinch. Peanut butter and nuts are good for sustaining your energy. Protein bars are small, inexpensive and good to eat on the run. Anything else that travels well and packs up small would be good to add. Watch expiration dates and change out supplies as needed.
Do not forget some comfort food - chocolate, hard candy, gum or mints can be good mood elevators.
Work with friends and family. They often have extras of things they do not use and you can take them or trade for them.
Use the Internet to find free, tradable or cheap goods.
Shop at thrift stores, surplus warehouses, dollar stores, department or large discount stores. Check the community pages, bulletin boards and garage sales in your area for inexpensive items you can add.
Membership clubs and warehouse stores are also great and they sell items in bulk. (Tip: go in together with others on bulk items you may need and split them up for cost savings.) Ask your doctor, dentist or eye doctor if they have any free samples you can add, like bandages, toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, contact solution, and contact lens or eyeglass cases.
Take the personal size soap or small shampoo, the plastic cup, or any other small size freebie items found in hotels.
Have copies of your driver’s license, Social Security card and birth certificate in your kit. If possible, keep a little bit of money (like $5, $10 or $20 in small bills and some change). Keep personal information and money in a secure location at all times.
Kids will need toys, coloring books, and treats to provide them a sense of normalcy in a disaster.
Survival manuals are great references. Often, they will tell you what you can and cannot eat right from your own yard.
Driving After an Earthquake
PLAN AN ALTERNATE ROUTE – The roads or freeways you usually use may be blocked or unsafe. Outline on a map several routes from home to work or to your child’s school or daycare. Keep the map in your car, purse, backpack or briefcase.
IF YOU TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT – Make sure that you are familiar with at least two (2) alternate routes in case the one you usually use is out of service.
KEEP A LIST OF PHONE NUMBERS AND ADDRESSES OF CO-WORKERS WHO LIVE NEAR YOU – In case of emergency, you will be able to contact them to share the ride to work if you feel unsafe driving alone or if your usual rideshare arrangement is temporarily unavailable.
DECIDE HOW YOU WILL MEET UP WITH LOVED ONES – Phones are often unreliable, so set up a plan in advance for getting to your family. Who will pick up the children? What are your travel plans if you need to check on an elderly or disabled friend or relative? You may want to ask someone who lives out of state to serve as the “family contact,” since after a disaster, it is often easier to call long-distance than locally.
KEEP AN EARTHQUAKE SURVIVAL KIT IN YOUR CAR – You can purchase a prepackaged kit or make your own, which should include a first aid kit, blanket, flashlight, batteries, packaged food items, bottled water, walking shoes and coins for a pay phone.
Have a Plan
Being prepared for an emergency not only involves gathering the right supplies, but also having a plan. Whether it be a fire, earthquake or a family emergency, knowing where your family is and how to get in touch with them is important.
- Create a contact list of family and friends. Include all important phone numbers and addresses (i.e., home, work, school, etc.). Share this information with each person on the list. Also, remember to update the information as it changes over time.
- List an out-of-state contact that everyone can call who can relay messages.
- As a back-up plan, figure out how you would contact these people in an emergency if telephones, cell phones, email, etc. do not work.
- How would you reach these people if the roads were undrivable? Or if the distance was too far to walk? Maybe your plan is for everyone stay in place. Or maybe you can bicycle or skateboard to where you need to go. Determine what is best for your situation and make sure everyone is in the know.
- If you or someone you care about needs special assistance in an emergency, plan for that. Provide helpers with extra keys to this person’s living facility and notify them where disaster supplies are located.
- Practice evacuating buildings using multiple exit strategies and assembly area locations. Make sure no one goes back inside a structure that is unstable or on fire.
- Develop a plan should you and your loved ones have to leave the immediate area. Choose different destinations and routes depending on news reports and/or instructions.
- Overall, for every aspect of your daily routine, plan an alternate procedure and share that information with the people in your life.
Knowing that your loved ones are safe after a disaster may be the best news you can hear in a disaster. Therefore, get prepared and have a plan!
Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country
Prepare for emergencies NOW! Residents must have supplies for 5-7 days after an earthquake or other emergency. Click here to learn more!
Prepárate para situaciones de emergencia ahora! Residentes deben tener suministros para 5-7 días después de un terremoto o otra emergencia. Oprima aqui para mas informacion.
Make Your Own Disaster Preparedness Kit
For helpful information on putting together a disaster preparedness kit on a tight budget, click here.
The American Red Cross has created a guide that can help you build an emergency kit in 21 weeks, called "21 Weeks to Prepare".
Disaster Preparedness: People with Disabilities
Prepare for Emergencies Now: Information for People with Disabilities
Information available in either Flyer or Brochure format.
Disaster Preparedness: Pets
Are you and your pets prepared for an emergency event? Start preparing NOW by following these guidelines.
Emergency Preparedness Brochure: Pets (pgs. 1 & 2)
Emergency Preparedness Brochure: Pets (pgs. 3 & 4)
Amateur Radio Operators
Amatuer Radio Classes are scheduled for May 30 & 31, and June 1. Click on the link for more information: HAM Radio Class Information
The City is always looking for amateur radio operators that are interested in working with the City during a disaster. HAM radio volunteers use their amateur radio skills to assist the City of Whittier, the Whittier school districts, both Whittier hospitals, and nearby cities with communications in the event of an emergency. Interested in volunteering? Please contact the City's Emergency Preparedness Program for information: (562) 567-9810.
Community Emergency Response Team: "CERT"
The City of Whittier will be starting a CERT program in the near future. They will be joining up with the Area E Regional CERT group for training classes and drills. If you are interested in getting involved now, check out: https://laareaecacert.samariteam.com/ to learn more about the CERT teams in the Area E neighboring cities.
Alert L.A. County
Los Angeles County has implemented a free emergency mass notification system that will be used to contact County residents and businesses via recorded phone messages, text messages or e-mail messages in case of emergency. The system, called Alert LA County, will be used by the County’s Emergency Operations Center to notify residents and businesses of emergencies or critical situations and provide information regarding necessary actions, such as evacuations or shelter-in-place.
The system utilizes the telephone companies’ 911 database and is able to contact land-line telephone numbers, whether listed or unlisted. If the call is picked up by an answering machine, the system will leave a recorded message. If the number called is busy or does not answer, the system will redial the number in an attempt to deliver the message. The system is also TTY/TDD compatible.
Because the Alert LA County system uses the 911 database, only land-line numbers are automatically included in the system. If you have a cellular or voice over IP number and would like to be notified on that device, or if you would like an e-mail notification, you must register those telephone numbers and/or e-mail addresses by completing the registration form at http://www.alert.lacounty.gov/.The City of Whittier will be utilizing this system in the event of an emergency and encourages residents to register their cell phone, voice over IP phone or e-mail address.
Protecting Against Business Losses
Protect your business by getting prepared! Extensive information on business preparedness and sample emergency plans, business preparedness checklists and more are available by visiting www.ready.gov/business and www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance. Also click here for “7 Steps to an Earthquake Resilient Business.”
Volunteer Disaster Service Workers
Interested in registering as a Disaster Service Worker for the City of Whittier? You can help in your community!
The City is always looking for volunteers who have various skills and experience including but not limited to: Equipment Mechanic, Plumber, Carpenter, Electrician, Certified Building Inspector, Veterinarian, Heavy Equipment Operator, or Bilingual Interpreter, just to name a few. Volunteer Disaster Service Workers would be called upon by the City to assist as needed in the event of a disaster. Your City needs you! Interested volunteers please pre-register in person with Emergency Management/Disaster Preparedness staff at City Hall, 13230 Penn Street, Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, or call for a registration form. Please contact Emergency Management/Disaster Preparedness staff for more information at (562) 567-9810.
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