»The oft repeated message: be prepared.
By Maddy PUMILIA
Representatives from the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), CV Sheriff’s Dept. and CV Fire Safety Council met with members of the Crescenta Valley community to discuss the probability of an upcoming earthquake that will hit the area.
CERT head coordinator Paul Dutton, CV Fire Safety Council president Roger Young and Deputy Jorge Valdivia addressed an audience that met on Monday at the CV Armenian Community & Youth Center in Montrose. They spoke about how to prepare for an earthquake and their message was simple: You will be on your own, so be prepared. Their focus was on what to do if first responders can’t help.
Dep. Valdivia explained how law enforcement would handle a sizeable earthquake. He said that nearby law enforcement agencies get together once a month to discuss preparing for the “big one.” He warned that law enforcement would not be responding to any of the public’s calls, at least for a few days. Their priority would be checking on hospitals, the water supply, power lines, schools if they are in session and bridges. Fire departments would be operating the same way. Hospitals will more than likely be overwhelmed. Law enforcement would be focused on containment and securing locations.
“If you can survive those three to four days, you should be okay,” Valdivia said.
Young then advised audience members to prepare their home structure. Think about things like flat screen televisions, large furniture pieces and other heavy items that are not secured. As for food, he said to keep a supply of beans and rice in the house.
In case an incident occurs when a resident isn’t home, vehicles and work spaces should also be prepared. Young talked about getting the American Red Cross smartphone app as it offers first aid tips. He also suggested texting in case of an emergency because 95% of the time a text goes through even when a voice call does not. He also suggested getting a car charger for your phone.
“[The biggest mistake] is to ignore the threat,” Young said. “That would be the first thing. It is a real threat. To not be informed is another mistake. For example, some people talk about shutting off the gas. You have to ask the question first: When do I shut off the gas? You only shut off the gas when you smell gas. To go and shut off the gas because you heard that was the thing to do is a mistake. The reason for that is that they tell you not to turn gas back on yourself. You must have a certified person to turn it on. There’s about as many certified people out there as there are police and firemen. They won’t be around to help you turn on your gas.”
Dutton reiterated the importance of having adequate supplies of food and water. He recommended having three to seven days supply of water. This means one gallon per person and per pet per day.
“Have food for your pets,” Dutton said. “Have water for your pets. If the pets need any pills or medications or anything like that, make sure you have that. Your pets are going to freak out, so make sure you have your leash ready.”
Dutton suggested having an out-of-state person as a contact for the entire family. It’s easier to reach someone out- of-state than someone in the area. If members of a family in the affected area all contact the out-of-state person, it allows one central point of information to be shared including finding out if all area family members are safe.
Dutton showed his grab and go bag, full of what he thinks is needed for an emergency. He has one in his house and another in his vehicle. Some of things included were water, flashlight, batteries, clothes, toilet paper, first aid supplies, food, duct tape, toiletries, nasal spray, suntan lotion, wrench, goggles, paper, poncho and good shoes.
In the event of an earthquake, Dutton warned that the entire area of Montrose would experience liquefaction.
“The shaking you’re going to experience in Montrose is going to be four times bigger than the mountains in La Crescenta,” Dutton said.
Crescenta Valley Town Council member Mike Claessens was host for Monday’s event and gave a final piece of advice: try to keep a half a tank of gas in your car at all times.