Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter

News

Disaster Preparedness: We Are In This Together

May 18, 2010

Learn How to Develop a Disaster Plan at an Upcoming Seminar

Whenever an earthquake, hurricane, tsunami, or even terrorist attack devastates part of the world, it’s natural to ask yourself, "What would I do if that happened to me? Would I be prepared to survive without water, food, electricity or gas for several days? What if I or a family member were injured?"

But as time marches on from these disasters, it is easy for the task of preparing yourself for a "What if?" to fall to the bottom of a busy to-do list. However, we are all susceptible to earthquakes, fires, extreme power outages and severe storms. In a major disaster, it might be days before telephone, electrical and gas services are restored. Grocery stores and other businesses might be closed. Or you might be trapped near your home. Preparing for the possibility of the worst can give you peace of mind that you are ready if the day comes.

"Creating a family disaster plan is critical in case of an emergency," says Kris LaVoy, R.N. and Washington Hospital’s Chief of Compliance. "It's important that people develop a plan and then practice the plan with their family members."

To help people in our community learn how to become better prepared in case of a disaster, LaVoy will be conducting a free Health and Wellness seminar that will share important tips on how to develop a disaster plan for you and your family. The seminar will take place on Monday, May 24 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. and will be held inside the Conrad E. Anderson, M.D. Auditoriums located at 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont. To register online, visit www.whhs.com or call (800) 963-7070.

During the seminar, LaVoy will outline several approaches on how to prepare for specific disasters including fire, earthquake, hazardous material event, terrorism, severe storms and power outage.

"Being knowledgeable and prepared is the best defense anyone has against the disasters we may face in our community," says LaVoy. " If we have learned anything from the recent earthquake in Haiti and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, it is that you have to be able to take care of yourself if a large scale disaster strikes."

LaVoy will discuss a five-step plan to prepare for disasters both large and small. A plan should consist of:

Step 1 – Develop a Plan

  • Involve all family members
  • Select two places to reunite
  • Distribute emergency numbers
  • Make your home as safe as possible
  • Account for special needs
  • Practice the plan

Step 2 – Secure Important Documents

Duplicating important documents and keeping them somewhere other than your house, like a safety deposit box or with someone you trust. Important documents include drivers’ license, passport, social security card, wills, deeds, financial statements, insurance information and prescriptions. Make sure to make two copies, one offsite and create an inventory of valuable.

Step 3 – Designate an Out-of-State Contact Person

Ideally, this person should be out of state, or at least far enough away to not be affected by the same disaster. Give the out-of-area contact person a list of the names and contact information for all the people you want them to inform about your situation. Make sure everyone in your family knows how to reach the out-of-area contact person and carries their contact information. If you are separated from your family during a disaster, all family members should check in with the out-of-area contact person.

Step 4 – Create an Emergency Kit

  • Be prepared for seven days
  • Prepare a "Go Bag" (See a list of "Go Bag" Items Below)

Step 5 – Know Your Community Resources and Become One!

  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)
  • Citizen Corps Neighborhood Watch groups
  • Red Cross and other classes

How Washington Hospital is Approaching Disaster Preparedness
In a disaster, Washington Hospital must be able to continue operating, and even expand its capacity, without depending on immediate help from local resources. Washington Hospital has identified additional facilities and equipment and stockpiled supplies for this purpose. It has also built redundancies into its systems to protect power, fuel and access to computers.

"In conjunction with local police and fire departments, Washington Hospital has developed plans of how it will respond to specific disasters that are likely to occur," says Lavoy. "All of us, both the Hospital and the community, have a role in disaster preparedness."

Stay Current
Be sure to review your disaster plan frequently and keep it up to date. Washington Hospital’s website: www.whhs.com/community/disaster-preparedness, the Red Cross www.redcross.org and www.72hours.org, have detailed information and resources.

Learn More at Upcoming Seminar
Title: Disaster Preparedness: Learn How to Become Better Prepared
When: Monday, May 24
Time: 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
Where: Conrad E. Anderson, M.D., Auditorium, Rooms A, B, & C, 2500 Mowry Avenue (Washington West) in Fremont.

"Go-Bag" Checklist
When a major disaster occurs, it is impossible for emergency services to respond to everyone’s needs immediately. You should be prepared to take care of yourself and your family for at least the first 72 hours. Go-bags should include:

  • Some water, food and manual can opener
  • Flashlight, battery-operated radio and extra batteries
  • Basic First Aid kit and instructions
  • Whistle, pocket knife and dust mask
  • Personal medications and prescriptions, eyeglasses and hearing aids
  • Special needs items for children, seniors or people with disabilities
  • Walking shoes, warm clothes, a hat and rain gear
  • Toilet paper, plastic bags and other hygiene supplies
  • Extra keys to your house and vehicle
  • Cash, copies of insurance and identification cards, out-of-area contact person information
  • Paper, pens and tape for leaving messages