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OP-ED: Are you ready for the unthinkable?
June 05, 2014, 05:00 AM By Adrienne J. Tissier

Adrienne J. Tissier

It can be a scary world out there. Wildfires. Earthquakes. Explosions. Tsunamis. Scary stuff.

It’s understandable that many people recoil at the thought of a disaster: Can’t happen to me and my family. No way. That’s something that happens to people on television.

Yet a disaster can strike anywhere at any time to anyone. Want proof? No one expected a gas pipeline to rupture in San Bruno or for an Asiana Airlines jetliner to crash at San Francisco International Airport.

Scary stuff.

But did you know that you can greatly improve your chances of survival and your ability to recover more quickly from a disaster if you prepare? Want to get started?

Join me at the 10th Annual Disaster Preparedness Day this Saturday, June 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the San Mateo County Event Center.

Disaster Preparedness Day brings together the best our communities offer: police officers, firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue experts, the American Red Cross, nonprofit organizations and volunteers.

You can learn from these experts on how to perform CPR or how to put together a family disaster plan. You can find checklists to help you get ready at your home or office and at your children’s school.

Do you and your family have a plan if an earthquake buckled bridges and collapsed freeways, leaving you separated and without phone service? Or how you would evacuate your family as a fire raced toward your family? Or if the unthinkable happened and a loved one was aboard a flight that crashed? How would you get in touch?

It all starts with a plan.

Disaster Preparedness Day sounds scary, but it’s a family event. Despite the serious theme, it will have a festival-style atmosphere with information booths, a giveaway and demonstrations.

Children can hide under blankets while Gypsy the search dog sniffs them out. Volunteers will be on hand to talk about Community Emergency Response Teams. These teams are trained by your local first responders to assist in an emergency with first aid, search and rescue, fire safety and other critical skills.

And if you arrive before 11 a.m., you receive free parking and free admission to the opening day of the San Mateo County Fair. That’s a great family value.

Disaster Preparedness Day began in 2005 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, one of the deadliest natural disasters in the history of the United States. Since then we have seen numerous disasters both natural and man-made. Yet the interest in preparedness wanes with the passing of time from each disaster.

Thanks to our San Mateo County Office of Emergency Services, the Sheriff’s Office and dozens of partners, we are creating a culture of preparedness. We invite you to join us on June 7.

With a plan, the world will not seem so scary.

Adrienne J. Tissier is a member of the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors, District Five.

 

 

Tags: disaster, family, preparedness, scary, county, mateo,


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