Tuesday, August 26, 2014

On the Napa 2014 Earthquake: Guidance from the City of Laguna Niguel Emergency Response Coordinator

Napa in Northern California experienced one of the largest Earthquakes in some 25 years.    It was quite timely that the City of Laguna Niguel Emergency Services Coordinator sent out a call-to-action to member of Team Laguna Niguel Responds to get a sense of the key challenges faced and all that all of us must prepare for.  These admonitions is applicable to all and the lessons learnt is ever so crucial:

In following the coverage of Sunday’s Napa County Earthquake I took note of some comments made in the reporting. Specifically:

·         Glass flying, furniture moving and falling
·         Glass on the floor causing cuts to feet
·         Couldn't find flashlights
·         Gas fires
·         Neighbors helping neighbors

I know that this probably doesn't surprise any of you as you have all heard these things mentioned before. I know this because it is part of the curriculum of the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy (In Jim McLain’s, our Planning Chief, presentation among other places). Additionally, these are lessons we constantly reinforce with Team Laguna Niguel Responds.

Given that perspective here is what I heard:

·         Glass on the floor = We should all have a go bag that is easily accessible, is in a known location, contains a pair of shoes, and is within a distance we can reach safely.

·         Glass flying = We all like to joke about Duck, Cover, and Hold but it is a real tool to help us survive. Remember to do your best to cover your face, head, and neck.

·         Furniture falling = We should secure our furniture with strapping or anchors as is appropriate. If you decide not to take this step then at least think ahead to what will happen in severe shaking and how you will respond. As much as you may want to believe it, your house is not immune from the effects of an earthquake. You do not have magic furniture that will stay put on its own.

·         Gas fires = While it sounded like the fires in the mobile homes were pretty spontaneous we should all have a wrench easily accessible and in a known location to shut the gas off if necessary. Remember on a gas meter, if the valve is horizontal it is closed, if it is in the vertical position it is open.

·         Couldn’t find the flashlights = As mentioned before, we need to have our stuff in an accessible and known location! And while we are on the topic, when was the last time you checked the batteries?

·         Neighbors helping neighbors = I think we are all on-board with this. In fact this is probably a main reason why you participate with TLNR. Just as a quick review, one of our CERT directives is to help ourselves and our families first and then look to help our neighbors before we move to a city level of response.

The basics still apply,
·         Build a kit
·         Make a plan
·         Gain more knowledge

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