Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas hosted a press conference and PrepareAthon! resource fair to promote disaster preparedness on Friday, Sept. 30, at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital.
Many organizations had tents set up full of information, including the Red Cross, the Earthquake Country Alliance and the County Community and Senior Services. Los Angeles is prone to yearly earthquakes and fires, but there are many other opportunities for disaster including house fires, house floods and power outages. Ending out National Preparedness Month, the speakers wanted the public to know that being prepared makes all the difference.
“We recognize, as first responders, that if there is a major incident, we cannot resolve and handle that by ourselves,” said Daryl Osby, fire chief of the Los Angeles County Fire Department. “We have to partner with our communities and they have to be prepared prior to the incident.”
The three steps to being prepared are make a plan, get a kit and stay informed. One important tip mentioned was that each person in your family should know the evacuation route. There should also be one gallon of water per person per day. If you have pets, their needs should be taken into consideration as well. A kit for documents is necessary so that you’re not looking for important items at the time of a disaster. It should include written down phone numbers, important papers, a spare pair of reading glasses and copies of any documents that you would need if you had to leave the house.
“You cannot rely on luck. We need to be reminded to take our next step,” said Jarrett Barrios, CEO of the American Red Cross, Los Angeles Region. “And it does not cost money to talk to your children about what to do if there’s a house fire and how to escape. Help us help you by being prepared.”
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas plans to grow the resource fair every year so that more people will be reminded to have food, clothes, water and all necessities at hand in case of an emergency. Even if it’s something as simple as buying a flashlight, the Supervisor wants everyone to start taking steps towards being more perpared.
“The more people who are prepared, the more lives that will be saved. That’s what’s critical about this. This is a life saving endeavor,” said Ridley-Thomas. “If you know how to shut off your gas mane, if you know how to administer CPR, if you know how to put out certain fires. Knowing what to do and what not to do would make a difference in the event of a natural or man-made disaster.”
For more information about how you can be equipped during a disaster, visit www.redcross.org.