Raziel's 4 Quick Tips on How to Prepare for Our Next Big Earthquake

Raziel Ungar

Raziel Ungar

September 24th, 2011 - 1 min read

You better believe it. We should all be pretty concerned as the scientists all tell us that we're bound to have The Big One - a huge earthquake - sometime in the next 30 years. We just have no idea when it'll be, so in the spirit of the Boy Scout motto, "BE PREPARED."

In this post I'll share a few handy links that I think you should be aware of as a smart homeowner living in the Burlingame, Hillsborough, or San Mateo areas.

1. SMCAlert is an alert notification system used to immediately contact you during urgent or emergency situations with useful information and updates by sending text messages to your cell phone. I've actually been on their system for the last year and it's been very handy to receive the updates, which have included road closures in Burlingame, Hillsborough, and San Mateo, mountain lion sightings in the San Mateo Highlands neighborhood, and other important information. Where it will really come in handy though is when we have an emergency...assuming the cell phone towers are still upright and working that is. The system will also shoot out information in the event of flooding, an oil spill, and severe weather warnings (like a tsunami, which hit Pacifica and Santa Cruz recently). The system is administered by the San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services. Click the image below to enter in your email address and/or phone number to receive updates.

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2. SF72.org is another excellent site I'd highly recommend checking out. Their description:

SF72 is your hub for emergency preparedness. You’ll find information about what to do in an emergency, simple steps to get connected, and useful guides to help you get prepared. Share SF72 with a friend—and help your loved ones and your city get prepared. In a serious emergency, city services will be impacted, so a basic rule of thumb is for people to be able to take care of each other for 72 hours before help arrives. That’s just three days—think of it as a long weekend—or nine meals.

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3. One of the best emergency training programs in the county is CERT, which stands for the Community Emergency Response Team. Anyone can sign up to be a CERT member as long as you go through the nifty free training which is mostly taught by your local fire department. I took a few of the classes and not only did a get a cool hardhat - all kidding aside - I learned an awful lot. I first learned about the CERT program in the book Emergency by Neil Strauss. Below is an excerpt about the program from the City of Burlingame website:

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training provides private citizens who complete this course with the basic skills needed to respond to their community's immediate needs in the aftermath of a disaster when emergency services are not available. By working together, CERTs can assist in saving lives and protecting property using the basic techniques in this course.The course consists of five 2.5 hour sessions offered on a weekday evening and a sixth, and final 6 hour session on Saturday. During the final session the participants are given "hands on" exercises to demonstrate the skills they have learned in the previous 5 weeks. The classes are presented at Station 34 on California Drive and the City Corporation Yard on North Carolan.Registration for this FREE class is required through the Burlingame Parks & Recreation Department and upcoming classes will be posted in the events section on the "Emergency & Other Helpful Information" page.

4. I just read the below in Congresswoman Jackie Speier's 9/23/11 newsletter and I thought her comments were helpful about preparing an earthquake kit and earthquake insurance:

Most of us take food, water, shelter and power for granted on a daily basis. If an earthquake strikes, our access to many of those things could be cut off. Make sure your family has an"emergency kit"; that includes water, food, a first aid kit, cash, flashlights, batteries, matches, warm clothing and a wrench to turn of utilities.

Purchasing earthquake insurance can give you financial assistance to pay for damages. An interactive survey of homeowner insurance and earthquake insurance premiums is available at:www.insurance.ca.gov. A list of all homeowners and earthquake insurers is also available on the same website. Most homeowner insurers also participate in the federal flood insurance program. If appropriate for your personal circumstances, you can reduce your flood and earthquake insurance costs by buying structure coverage and skipping the coverage for contents.

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