About 25 Silver Strand residents attended the first of four meetings on Emergency Preparedness to be held over the next few weeks. Nora Nicosia, Bill Boyd, Richard Cervantes and Penny Akashi have been the movers and shakers on this issue. It was Nora, SSMHOA Board member, who initiated the idea of preparing Silver Strand residents for an earthquake/tsunami a few years ago by drawing up a form with essential contact information that homeowners could fill out and return to their Block Captains. Since then, the form has been included in every new homeowner’s Welcome Packet. She also persevered in getting Block Captains to organize meetings educating homeowners about what they can do in the event of a catastrophe. Bill Boyd, a trained CERT member has lent his invaluable expertise over the years. SSMHOA Board member Richard Cervantes has volunteered to be Chair of the Emergency Preparedness Committee. Penny Akashi has organized the meetings.
Richard Cervantes, gave the introduction followed by Bill Boyd, Penny Akashi and David Eisenman. The most important points made were as follows:
1) It is essential to have enough drinkable water on hand to last several weeks [you can survive without food for much longer than you you can without water]. Bill mentioned that there is a shut-off valve at your hot water heater that can prevent contaminated outside water from coming into your home. Shutting off the valve will allow you to use the water that remains in your hot water tank to drink.
2) Bill also showed the audience a couple of emergency backpacks that can be purchased fully supplied with dried food, water, first aid kit etc. He impressed upon us the importance of keeping an emergency kit in our cars as well.
3) He advised us to keep a sturdy pair of sneakers near our beds and in our cars. This will allow you walk through glass and other debris.
4) Penny Akashi mentioned the importance of having a solar/battery radio, if internet or phone service is not available, to get information about what is happening. Have cash on hand in small bills (forget about using a credit card in this situation), your prescription medicines and packaged foods, ie. granola bars etc. Flashlights are also essential. Penny demonstrated a headlamp which allows you move around and work with hands free.
5) Penny also brought up the importance of securing cabinets containing glassware and china with child safety locks to prevent broke bits from flying all over your kitchen.
6) The one hour meeting concluded with Silver Strand resident David Eisenman talking about his study of what happens during a disaster by looking at what others have experienced in these catastrophic events. He said it has been proven that neighbors do help neighbors [ Fukushima is an example] and that is what will happen here as well. We will need to rely on our residents who are professionals, i.e. doctors, nurses, medics and trained CERT responders. He is in the process of formulating a program called Building Resilient Communities. He spoke about rebuilding a community after a disaster. David said that he would be willing to speak at our annual SSMHOA meeting and at some of the other EP meetings.
As people were leaving, Penny asked if they had learned something and everyone said they did and were glad that they had come.
Richard, Bill, Penny and Nora urge all Block Captains as first responders to attend one of the next meetings. They also urge all residents to fill out the Emergency Preparedness form with your contact information. The information you provide will be confidential and retained only by your Block Captain for use in the case of an emergency. Help your Block Captains, as first responders, to help you and your family by giving them your completed form. The forms will be available at the next three meetings. If you can’t attend, leave a comment below and we will email it to you.
The next three meetings will take place over the next few weeks. Dates and locations will be announced in the blog.
With thanks to Nora Nicosia and Penny Akashi for contributing to this report and to Marilee Karlsen for her photographs.