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Disasters Happen – Get Prepared for Our Next Disaster Right Now

San Francisco Fire Department Lt. Erica Arteseros walked about 80 attendees through the important actions that they needed to take to be prepared for a disaster when The Infinity hosted her disaster preparedness workshop a couple of weeks ago. It was standing room only!

This tells me that there are probably a lot more folks interested in learning what they need to do to help protect themselves and their loved ones in the event of a disaster.

NERT volunteers Cathy and Gary tabling at Taste of South Beach 2009 Photo: Jamie Whitaker

The best preparation available is the free Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) training provided for free by the San Francisco Fire Department. Check out the NERT student manual for a preview. The next training dates scheduled for the SoMa waterfront are January 17, 2012 through February 21, 2012 – six Tuesdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. at the SFFD Headquarters at 698 2nd Street. Check out the flyer for this training and let your neighbors know about it too!

The next best thing, in my humble opinion, is a disaster training workshop like the one attended by 80 folks at The Infinity a couple of weeks ago which only required a couple of hours in time commitment. Probably the most valuable information offered were the handouts:

  1. Home/Work/Car Disaster Preparedness Kit Checklist (also available in Spanish and Chinese languages)
  2. Family Disaster Plan
  3. Pet Disaster Plan for those of us who have furry companions

As an aside, there is also a Shelter In Place handout which may have come in handy Thursday evening when there was a gas pipeline leak at Mission and Beale Streets and a Shelter in Place order was issued (see news video clip below – requires Adobe Flash).

One nice messaging tool available in San Francisco that everybody should sign up for in order to receive alerts of various types about nearby dangers or safety hazards is AlertSF. Keep in mind that your cell phone provider may charge for text messaging and such for messages received from AlertSF as it would any other similar data.

Another good tip is to get to know your neighbors so that you can check on each other in the event of a disaster. For folks who have special medical or mobility needs, you should let your building managers know so that if a fire or other disaster occurs, they have a listing of residents who may need special assistance from others.

Some other websites that are helpful include:

There’s also a store that specializes in providing earthquake/disaster preparedness supplies in San Rafael called Earthquake Supply Center.

Don’t wait for the disaster to happen – plan for the disaster now to ensure that you and your loved ones survive!

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