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Op-Ed: Prepare Today to Protect Your Loved Ones

Release Date: 2022-09-15

Prepare today to protect your loved ones for emergencies for future emergencies

September is Emergency Preparedness Month

PUBLISHED: September 9, 2022, at 6:00 a.m.
UPDATED: September 9, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

Read the article on Grunion Gazette

LONG BEACH — By Reginald Harrison

National Preparedness Month is observed each September to promote personal, family and the community emergency preparedness. We take this opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of readying ourselves for natural and man-made disasters that could happen at any time.

As a society, we find ourselves preparing for new and evolving threats, like climate change, global pandemics, and the rise of domestic acts of violence. In both natural and man-made emergencies, there are often signs and specific instructions you should follow to reduce property damage and injury to loved ones.

As a coastal city, Long Beach is susceptible to natural disasters like earthquakes and tsunamis. Long Beach sits amongst fault lines that crisscross the region and along the Pacific Rim where, while rare, tsunamis can occur. Earthquakes happen without warning and can cause significant destruction and injury when not prepared. And while tsunamis usually provide natural warning signs before they strike — like the occurrence of a distant earthquake in Alaska or China, a loud roar or retreating ocean water that exposes the ocean floor — tsunamis can be catastrophic to communities along the coast.

Because of these imminent threats, every resident should prepare themselves today, so they are prepared for emergencies in the future.

One of the easiest and most important steps to prepare for an emergency is to create a go-bag to have ready if the need to evacuate arises. A go-bag should be kept in an easily accessible location and contain essential items necessary for you and your family — including pets — to feel safe, comfortable and be self-sustaining for up to seven days. This includes things like food, water, medication, First-Aid kit, clothing, and blankets.

Another way to prepare for emergencies is to make a family emergency plan — including how to exit your residence under various scenarios or where to meet in the event of an emergency — and practice it with your loved ones. Residents should also learn basic emergency medical procedures.

If you experience an earthquake, remember to: drop to the floor to prevent being knocked down; cover your head to protect from falling objects; and hold on until the shaking stops. In the event of a tsunami, residents should quickly move to higher ground to reduce the likelihood of injury.

In addition to preparing for natural disasters, mitigating man-made emergencies, like a terrorist attack, active shooter incident or other illegal activity, is critical to safeguarding life. “See Something, Say Something” is a national campaign to raise public awareness of terrorism-related crime. Even presumably smaller instances such as an unattended bag, a vehicle parked in an odd location, or prolonged surveillance of facilities, could all be observations that should be reported.

By being prepared, alert and reporting suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency, you can protect your family, neighbors, and community. Websites like Ready.gov and ShakeOut.yourShakeOut.org are other great resources where residents can learn more about building your emergency go-bag and prepare for potential natural and man-made disasters.

Reginald Harrison is the director of the city’s Department of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Communications.