Did you feel that earthquake?

  • by Francis Lan
  • Wednesday August 19, 2015
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Volunteers hand out grab and go bags at a disaster preparedness<br>event. Photo: Courtesy Allstate Foundation and Good and Ready
Volunteers hand out grab and go bags at a disaster preparedness
event. Photo: Courtesy Allstate Foundation and Good and Ready

Every small earthquake in California is a reminder that large natural disasters can and do happen in an instant. That's why, when stronger, more destructive quakes occur, LGBTs and same-sex families should have a plan in place.

Every member should know how to reconnect with each other if everyone is in different locations during the workday. Your child's school will likely follow his/her school emergency plan, but do you know what that entails and if there's an emergency coordinator? What about your disaster preparedness kit? Do you even have one and if you do, have you updated it lately to refresh expired batteries? And, by the way, did you know that each family member needs his or her own disaster preparedness kit?

Answers to these important questions take center stage at the "Good and Ready" Oakland Disaster Preparedness booth located at the Oakland Chinatown StreetFest Saturday, August 22, from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. It is the perfect place and ideal time to learn about disaster preparedness. It is also a reason to gather the entire family and head over to the Oakland Chinatown StreetFest. The volunteers at the booth will provide an array of life-saving information, as well as help you build a free disaster preparedness kit.

This week's quake in Piedmont, the tremblor last year in Napa, and the Loma Prieta earthquake close to 26 years ago that devastated our area, all have one major component that reaches across all natural disasters: They do not discriminate.

Research from the Federal Emergency Management Agency found that 85 percent of Americans are not prepared for potential disasters. So for a person or a family to create the best defense from disaster, preparation is vital.

Here are a few simple steps to take to get ready before the ground starts to shake.

• Identify unsecure furniture like bookcases and other items and mount them, or move them away from where people sit or sleep.

• Install earthquake door latches on cabinets.

• Keep a pair of hard-sole shoes near your bed so you can get safely through the house even if disaster strikes in the middle of the night.

• Create an evacuation plan that includes a safe place outside the home for the family to meet after the shaking stops.

• Prepare an emergency kit to grab and go. The kit can include first-aid supplies, water, medications and important papers, and flashlight.

• Walk through your home with a video or still camera and make an inventory of your stuff. The Allstate Digital Locker app, free to download for iPhone or Android devises, helps preserve the inventory online.

To help Americans become better prepared for disaster, the Allstate Foundation, Target, and Points of Light founded the Good and Ready program in 2012, working in partnership with http://www.Ready.gov, the American Red Cross, and the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes.

The Allstate Foundation's involvement in the program is part of its SaferLives program, which provides important safety information and tools to help people be aware of the risks in their lives and protect themselves and their loved ones.

Since March, foundation and Points of Light helped to prepare over 15,000 families and individuals in 10 U.S. cities to start their own disaster preparedness kits.

And this Saturday, at Oakland's Chinatown Streetfest, more than 1,500 residents and families are expected to come and assemble their own disaster preparedness kits as the Allstate Foundation and Points of Light inspire the Bay Area to think about " and act on " the importance of emergency preparedness. I will be there along with HandsOn Bay Area volunteers, and other Allstate agency owners from the East Bay and the Allstate National Catastrophe Team. We all are gearing up for the enthusiasm that so many people have for learning about preparedness and for reducing our risks from catastrophe, and for improving our ability to recover as quickly as possible from the effects of a disaster.

The next earthquake is coming. Prepare now. Come to the Good and Ready booth and make an emergency preparedness kit and keep it supplied. Have an emergency plan and practice it. Assist others who for whatever reason can't do this themselves; whether they're children or the elderly or neighbors with special needs. Through simple steps like these, by person and by family, by neighborhood and our LGBT and same-sex communities Oakland-San Francisco Bay Area wide, we all can be safer in time of disaster and recover more quickly afterward.


For more information about the Oakland Chinatown Disaster Preparedness Event, visit Good and Ready Oakland.

Francis Lan is an Oakland resident and an Allstate volunteer.