Become the change: Be disaster ready

Prepare for an emergency with these tips and tricks.

By Claudia Cazares, Contributor

The two recent major fires in Northern California have forced more than 300 people out of their homes. Natural disasters like these and other man-made disasters spark conversation about current public safety and the steps to stay safe in emergencies. It’s even helpful to look at past events like 9/11 and Hurricane Michael; these events help assess the precautions that were taken or needed in times of panic.

In critical times, we can count on dedicated and skilled individuals like the American Red Cross  that assist in emergencies. According to the official website, 90 percent of the people involved in the American Red Cross are volunteers. Their continuous support and preparation helps assist individuals and families in moments of crisis.

The assistance provided by the donors and volunteers of the American Red Cross was able to aid the survivors in Texas after the damage caused by Hurricane Harvey. According to their official website, they provided food, shelter, relief supplies and financial assistance.

While the American Red Cross is there to assist in times of disaster, steps should be taken on an individual level to minimize personal injury or damage. The smallest preparations can have the biggest impacts. By educating family members, colleagues and friends on the possible risks involved, you can help them take the adequate steps needed.

One of the first steps that should be taken is putting together an emergency kit.

According to Ready.gov, following a disaster, being able to survive on your own for a few days is fundamental. For this reason, it is of great significant value to have an emergency kit available that can supply your basic needs for at least 72 hours. This survival kit should include important items like water, non-perishable foods, medicine and clothing.

Drills can also be an essential part of preparing for natural or man-made disasters. At first they put you in a position of panic and you must practice making safe decisions. It can be helpful if your family members, colleagues and friends have assigned roles to fill during times of disaster.

According to Cal State Monterey Bay, by preparing an emergency kit for at least 72 hours after a disaster, you will not only be prepared, you will also be able to assist others.

Having a plan in place will help make it easier to act. Remember to practice your plans once a month by reiterating the steps to yourself, friends and family. Doing so can minimize the damage caused by a disaster.