Earthquake Preparedness

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Emergency Survival Program

                  Earthquake PreparednessEarthquake Preparedness Damaged Fwy

FAMILY STEPS TO SURVIVAL

Step 1: Family Emergency Plan
Step 2: Supply Storage
Step 3: First Aid Training and Supplies
Step 4: Duck, Cover and Hold
Step 5: Car Kit and Office Kit
Step 6: Emergency Cash and Important Documents
Step 7: Camping Out Earthquake Style
Step 8: Freshen Up Your Water and Food Supplies
Step 9: Focus on Children
Step 10: Learn Not to Burn
Step 11: Emergency Lighting
Step 12: Gifts of Life

For more information call: Joyce Harris, Los Angeles County, Office of Emergency Management, (213) 974-1166

Plan now, to avoid trouble later!

Do members of your family know the safest and most dangerous places in your home during a disaster or an emergency? Do they know where to meet if they're separated? Do they know how to report their physical conditions and whereabouts? Many government agencies, schools and businesses have plans for various types of disasters and other emergencies. Your family should also have one. The safety and well-being of your loved ones are important, so take time NOW to develop a family emergency plan. If you've already developed a plan, take time NOW to review and update it. Consider the recommendations included on the reverse side of this Focus Sheet when you develop or update your
plan.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 1: Family Emergency Plan

Extracted and adapted from “Make A Family Earthquake Plan,” developed by the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

Your Environment

Safe Spots: Identify objects or places in each room that will provide protection from falling objects:

  • Sturdy desks and tables
  • Interior walls/corners

Danger Spots: Identify objects or places in each room that pose a danger during a disaster or an emergency:

  • Windows
  • Tall unsecured furniture
  • Heavy objects on shelves
  • Appliances
  • Hanging mirrors/plants
  • Pictures
  • Ceiling lights
  • Tall unbraced chimneys inside and outside the structure.

Evacuation Routes: Locate exits and alternate ways to leave your home should the need arise.
Utility Shut-offs: Show everyone where the shut-offs for the following are located:

  • Water
  • Gas
  • Electricity

Teach everyone when and how to shut them off. Gas should be turned off only if you suspect a leak. Contact your utility company if you’re not sure.

Special Provisions

Plan for family members who have special needs, including:

  • Seniors
  • People with disabilities
  • Children
  • Individuals who take special medications
  • Individuals who do not speak English
  • Pets

Make provisions for:

  • Evacuation, if required
  • Special foods
  • Medications/eye glasses
  • Life-sustaining equipment
  • Wheelchairs, canes, walkers
  • Strollers

Be sure to store such items in a location that’s easy to access.

Meeting Plans

It’s important that family members know where and how to reunite after a disaster or an emergency. Knowing everyone is alive and well will help family members cope with the situation more easily.

Include the following in your family emergency plan:

  • Out-of-state contact
  • Meeting place
  • Policies of schools and day-care centers pertaining to:
  • Emergency shelter
  • Transportation
  • Care for children

Designate someone to pick up your children if you are unable to do so after an emergency. Be sure to check with your school for its policies in reuniting children with parents.

Plan Responsibilities

You and family members will have to attend to many details. So will your neighbors. Get together and develop a plan that covers all potential problems. Assign specific responsibilities to each person based on their probable locations since it may be difficult to travel as a result of the disaster or emergency.

Complete, clip and give each family member the following:

This action sheet is produced as part of the Emergency Survival Program (ESP). ESP is an awareness campaign designed to increase individual and home emergency preparedness. ESP was developed by the County of Los Angeles. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) and representatives from Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Yuma counties assist in the development of campaign materials and coordination of the campaign.

ESP Family Steps to Survival

Name:
Address:
Phone:
Out-of-state contact:
Phone:
Meeting place:
Special needs:
Responsibilities:

Supplies won’t help if you can’t get to them!

Flashlights, portable radios, first aid kits and other emergency supplies are essential after earthquakes and other disasters, but only if you can get to and use them. Emergency supplies aren’t very useful if you’re unable to get to them when you need them. Store your emergency supplies in a location that you can access. Consider the options presented on the back side of this Focus Sheet. Remember, supplies won’t help you if you can’t get to them.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 2: Supply Storage

There are several options for storing your emergency supplies, including:

  • Backpacks
  • Duffel bags
  • Heavy plastic trash cans with wheels
  • Other containers

One of the most important considerations in storing your supplies is determining a location that you’ll have access to after a major earthquake or other disaster. At least two different locations are recommended. Identify the safe spots in your house as you did when you developed your family emergency plan and conducted your home hazard hunt. Then, determine the locations in which you spend the most time and to which you’ll have easy access.

Your options may include storing the supplies in the following locations:

  • Under your bed
  • In a hallway closet
  • In the den
  • In another location
  • In more than one location such as in a backpack to take with you if you have to leave your home and in the pantry for use while you’re at home.

Supply Location: You also might consider storing some of the supplies in different locations. For example:

  • Flashlight under/by your bed
  • Sturdy shoes under/by your bed
  • Portable radio under/by your bed
  • Eye glasses under/by your bed
  • Canes, walkers, etc. by your bed
  • Adjustable wrench at the gas meter
  • Food, water in the pantry

Remember, however, that food and water require special considerations:

  • Empty open packages of sugar, flour, dried fruits and nuts into screw-top plastic jars or air-tight containers to avoid problems with insects and rodents.
  • Place food and water stored in the pantry on lower shelves to prevent damage to the container.
  • Store your food and water in a dark, cool place to increase their life span.
  • Do not place plastic containers directly on cement floors. Lead and other contaminants may leak into the food or water if the container is placed on cement.

You might be on your own for 72 hours!

After a disaster or an emergency, some people get hurt. Are YOU first aid ready? For example, after a major earthquake, many people are unaware that they might be on their own for up to 72 hours or more. You might have to depend on yourself to treat injured family members, friends and coworkers since outside assistance, including 9-1-1 service, might not be available immediately. If you don’t have a first aid kit, NOW is the time to buy or assemble one. If you don’t know how to administer first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), enroll in a first aid and CPR class TODAY.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 3: First Aid Training and Supplies

Common Injuries

Earthquakes can cause a number of injuries. Their most common injuries and effects include:

  • Bleeding
  • Broken bones
  • Burns
  • Cuts from flying/broken glass
  • Shock
  • Stopped breathing

First Aid Courses

After a major disaster or other emergency, immediate medical assistance, including 9-1-1, might not be available. You might have to treat family members, friends and coworkers who suffer broken bones, cuts and other injuries. Take time NOW to learn first aid and CPR. Courses for adults and children are available through organizations such as local chapters of the American Red Cross, hospitals and community centers.

First Aid Kits

Make sure you have everything you need to treat injuries that might occur during a disaster or emergency. Assemble and store an emergency first aid kit that includes:

  • First aid book
  • Bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Butterfly bandages
  • 3" elastic bandages
  • Roller bandages
  • Dust masks
  • 4x4 sterile gauze dressings (individually wrapped)
  • Magnifying glass to see splinters
  • Nonallergenic adhesive tape
  • Safety pins
  • Scissors
  • Triangular bandages
  • Antiseptic wipes
  • Blunt-tipped scissors
  • Latex gloves
  • Eye cup or small plastic cup to wash out eyes
  • Emergency (foil) blanket
  • Thermometer
  • Antibiotic salve
  • Tweezers
  • High-absorbency pads
  • Wound disinfectant
  • Saline for eye irrigation
  • Small paper cups
  • Aspirin or acetaminophen
  • Liquid soap
  • Tissues
  • Cold compress
  • Smelling salts

Practice promotes preparedness!

Every state in the U.S. is prone to earthquakes. Earthquakes such as the magnitude-7.3 Landers, CA temblor in 1992 can strike at any time and cause numerous deaths and injuries. Experience also shows us that even moderate earthquakes — in the magnitude 5 to 6.9 range — can cause a significant number of deaths and injuries. The magnitude-6.7 Northridge, CA earthquake in 1994 caused 57 deaths, more than 10,000 injuries and an estimated $40-42 billion in property losses.

Learn what to do during an earthquake—whether you’re at home, work or school. Taking the proper actions can save lives and reduce your risk of death and injury. Use the information on the reverse side of this Focus Sheet to help you become more prepared. Take part in earthquake safety exercises such as the annual statewide Earthquake—Duck, Cover and Hold Drill held in California during the month of April. Contact your local office of emergency services for more information.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 4: Duck, Cover and Hold

How

If an earthquake strikes while you’re INDOORS, follow the steps below:

DUCK or drop down to the floor. Avoid windows, bookcases, file cabinets, heavy mirrors, hanging plants and other heavy objects that could fall. Watch out for falling plaster or ceiling tiles. (Protective window coating and materials for anchoring computers, televisions and other breakable items are now available.)

Take COVER under a sturdy desk, table or other piece of furniture until the shaking stops. If that’s not possible, seek cover against an interior wall and protect your head and neck by covering them with your arms. Avoid danger spots near windows, hanging objects, mirrors and tall furniture.

HOLD ON to the leg of a sturdy desk, table or other piece of furniture if you take cover under it. Be ready to move with it. HOLD the position until the ground stops shaking and it’s safe to move.

Other Locations

Earthquakes don’t always occur when you and your family are at home, work or school. If you are in a public place, remain calm and do not rush for exits. Take the time in any location to identify alternate exits. Here are some additional safety tips if you’re at specific locations when the
shaking starts:

  • If you’re in an OFFICE BUILDING, don’t use the elevators. Don’t be surprised if the fire alarm, burglar alarm or sprinkler system comes on.
  • If you’re OUTDOORS and can safely do so, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, windows, buildings, electrical wires and poles.
  • If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster and debris.
  • If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road, stop and set the parking brake. Try to avoid overpasses, bridges, power lines, signs and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over. Do not exit your car if wires have fallen on it.
  • If you’re in a CROWDED STORE OR OTHER PUBLIC PLACE, don’t rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
  • If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. If possible, move to cover, lock your wheels and protect your head with your arms.
  • If you’re in the KITCHEN, turn off the stove and move away from it, the refrigerator and overhead cupboards. [Anchor appliances and install safety latches on cupboard doors NOW.]
  • If you’re in a STADIUM OR THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. If possible, try to crouch down so that your head is below the top of the chair. Don’t try to leave until the shaking is over. Leave in a calm, orderly manner when the shaking stops and you are instructed to do so.

Be prepared for aftershocks. Plan where you will take cover when aftershocks occur.

You might not be at home!

No one knows whether he or she will be at home, at work or on the road when a damaging disaster strikes. Such an event could severely damage transportation routes or cause their temporary closure. As a result, you might have to use alternate driving routes, abandon your car and walk home or remain where you are. Store emergency supply kits at work and in your vehicle to help make your situation less stressful.

Be sure to keep gasoline in your tank. If an earthquake occurs while you are driving, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Try to avoid stopping under overpasses, power lines or other objects that could fall. The reverse side of this Focus Sheet includes recommendations on supplies you should store at work and in your car for use after a disaster or emergency.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 5: Car Kit and Office Kit

Car and Work Kit Supplies

Be sure to store a backpack, duffel bag or tote bag containing the following emergency supplies at work and in your car:

  • Bottled water: At least a 72-hour supply (minimum one gallon per person, per day) to avoid significant losses of body fluids.
  • Nonperishable food: Dried fruit, unsalted nuts and crackers, energy bars, etc.
  • First aid kit and book: To provide medical assistance to yourself, passengers, coworkers and others
    who may require aid.
  • Sealable plastic bags: To dispose of trash, waste, etc.
  • Flashlights, spare batteries and bulbs: To provide light if you need to walk home, find evacuation routes at night or if lights are out.
  • Battery-operated radio, spare batteries: To obtain official information and instructions.
  • Essential medication: At least a 72-hour supply of essential prescription medications to maintain your health and provide comfort while walking home or waiting for roads to reopen.
  • Tools: Screwdrivers, pliers, crowbars, etc., to help with debris removal and light search and rescue.
  • Premoistened towelettes: For personal hygiene.
  • Extra clothes: Shirts, pants, blouses, jackets, etc., that are comfortable.
  • Sturdy shoes: To protect your feet from broken concrete, glass and other debris.
  • Manual can opener: To open canned goods contained in your emergency food supply.
  • Sturdy work gloves: To protect your hands from sharp objects you may attempt to lift. Be sure to also include the following items in your car kit:
  • Reflectors: To warn approaching vehicles that your car is stopped or abandoned. Check and/or replace them as needed.
  • Blanket or sleeping bag: To provide warmth and comfort if you sleep in your car or outdoors while en route home.
  • Fire extinguisher: To put out small fires.
  • Local maps: To guide you if you use alternate routes to walk or drive to your destination.
  • Hat or visor: To provide protection from the sun.
  • Whistle: To attract attention and call for help.
  • Pen or pencil and tablet: To leave messages if you abandon your car. Be sure to specify the date and time and your destination.

Stash some cash!

A disaster may disrupt power. If this should happen, it won’t be “business as usual.” Banks and ATM’s might be closed for an indefinite period, so your money in the bank will stay there. Your emergency kit should include a sufficient amount of cash to get you through the emergency period. You’ll need cash to purchase food, gas and other emergency supplies. Small bills—ones, fives and tens—are best.

Be sure you also include plenty of change to call your out-of-state contact from a public phone. (Public phone lines are among the first to be restored after a disaster.) You also can use your calling card to make the call. You’ll also need insurance policies, birth certificates and other vital records after a damaging disaster. Take steps NOW to protect them.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 6: Emergency Cash and Important Documents

Important Documents

After a damaging disaster or emergency, you’ll need vital personal documents and information for insurance claims and other matters. Keep the following items and documents and/or copies of them in a safe deposit box, freezer or another safe place:

  • Social security cards
  • Birth certificates
  • Marriage and death records
  • Drivers’ licenses
  • Credit cards
  • Insurance policies
  • Recent income tax returns
  • Mortgage or rental receipts
  • Employment paycheck stubs
  • Deeds
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Savings and checking account books
  • Documentation of valuables
  • Computers
  • Stereo systems
  • Televisions
  • Jewelry
  • Cars
  • Cameras

Video or photo documentation will facilitate insurance claims.

  • Wills
  • Health history, allergies, blood types
  • Recent photos of family members for identification purposes

Storage Tips

Several options for safely storing valuables and important documents are available to you, including the following:

  • Fireproof storage box or safe deposit box
  • Freezer (make sure you tightly seal documents in a freezer bag before placing them in the freezer)
  • The home of your out-of-state contact (send only copies of documents, not the originals)

Quick Reference

Complete and use the form provided below as a quick, pocket reference about vital information and documents. Sources for this document included the FEMA publication “Are You Ready? Your guide to disaster preparedness.”

Name:
SS #:
Auto Insurance Policy #:
Home Insurance Policy #:
Health Insurance Policy#:
Company: Phone:
Family Members Social Security Numbers:

You might not be able to cook indoors!

A strong earthquake, flood, wild fire or other disaster could severely damage or impair utility systems, including gas lines, for long periods, forcing you to live and cook outdoors for several days. Prepare to do so NOW by including outdoor cooking and camping supplies as part of your emergency kit. Tips on preparing to live and cook outdoors are featured on the reverse side of this Focus Sheet.

Outdoor Cooking

If an emergency disrupts utility services and forces you to cook outdoors, you can use a camp stove or charcoal grill, but remember: use these items for cooking only if you’re outdoors.

If necessary, you also can use candle warmers and sternos to heat your food. You can heat canned food in the can, but you must remove the paper and the lid first to let steam escape. Chafing dishes and fondue pots also can be used as containers. Other cooking options include the stove in your recreational vehicle.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 7: Camping Out Earthquake Style

Cooking Supplies

Be sure to store at least enough of the cooking supplies to last 72 hours. Choose the supplies for cooking that best suit your family’s needs. A list of options follows:

Essential supplies

  • Barbecue or other outdoor grill
  • Camp stove
  • Sterno-type fuel

Fuels*

  • Charcoal and lighter fluid
  • Propane

*Check local laws regarding the use of these products.

Supplies

  • Disposable plates
  • Disposable cups
  • Disposable eating utensils
  • Paper towels
  • Pots, pans
  • Waterproof matches or a lighter
  • Utensils
  • Forks, knives and spoons
  • Manual can opener
  • Tongs with long wooden handles to pick up heated containers

Outdoor Living

Be sure to have the following supplies available so you and your family are prepared to live outdoors if an earthquake or another emergency severely damages your home or your utility service is interrupted:

  • Essentials
  • Battery-operated radios, flashlights
  • Blankets, sleeping bags
  • Canopy or tarp
  • Clothing
  • Rain gear
  • Sturdy shoes
  • Essential medications
  • First aid book and kits
  • Food (nonperishable)
  • Local maps
  • Rope, tape and trash bags
  • Shovel, hammer and ax
  • Tent(s)
  • Water for cooking, drinking and hygiene

Special Tips

  • If possible, include foods that do not require cooking.
  • Use foods stored in your refrigerator first. An unplugged refrigerator will remain cold for 24 hours if you don’t open the door. Cook foods in your freezer next. Cook foods stored on shelves last.
  • Store fuels in a ventilated area such as a garage or storage shed, away from water heaters.
  • Do not camp under power lines, trees or other objects that could fall.

Personal hygiene

  • Baking soda to absorb odors
  • Deodorant
  • Lip balm
  • Mouthwash
  • Plastic trash bags
  • Portable shower
  • Portable toilet or bucket
  • Soap
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Towelettes
  • Wash cloths

Psychological comfort

  • Candy
  • Cards
  • Family photos
  • Games

To increase your safety and comfort!

You can’t exist very long without water. It’s essential to life. Food also is important. Many of us could survive without it for several days, but the energy, psychological comfort and nutrition it provides are essential after experiencing a damaging disaster or major emergency. There’s no assurance that food and water will be available. For example, the Northridge earthquake severely damaged the water distribution system in the City of Los Angeles, leaving 100,000 homes and businesses without drinking water. Water quality also was a problem due to quake-caused interruption of the chlorination process and possible contamination through more than 2,000 pipeline breaks.

People who fled their homes for nearby parks had to wait in long lines to receive food and water from the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and other volunteer agencies. Protect your family and reduce post disaster stress by storing or freshening your emergency water and food supplies. Sources included the City of Los Angeles and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 8: Freshen Up Your Water and Food Supplies

Water Storage

  • Store at least a three-day to three-week supply of drinking water for each family member (at least one gallon per person, per day). Water is available in juice-box type containers, cans, foil packets and plastic bottles.
  • Store additional water for hygiene and cooking.
  • Store a three-day supply of water for your pets.
  • Replace your home-stored tap water every six months.
  • Avoid storing water containers directly on cement. Lead from the cement could pass through the container into the water.
  • Store water on lower shelves, rather than on higher shelves from which containers could fall and burst.
  • Store your water in a cool, dark and dry place, separated from your other emergency supplies.

Alternate Water Sources

  • Water heater, if secured
  • Toilet tanks (not the bowl) if the water hasn’t been treated with chemicals to enhance color, smell, etc.
  • Beverages
  • Ice
  • Swimming pools (for hygiene purposes only, not for drinking!)

Food Selection and Storage

  • Store nonperishable foods your family normally eats. Include items that do not require cooking.
  • Avoid foods that require a lot of water to prepare or are heavily salted and make you thirsty.
  • Remember dietary restrictions.
  • Be sure to store your favorite treats for psychological comfort.
  • Include an emergency food supply for your pets.
  • Store at least a three-day to three-week supply of canned foods. Foods in glass bottles and jars might break when a disaster occurs.
  • Include a manual can opener.
  • Open food boxes or cans carefully so you can close them tightly after each use.
  • Empty open packages of sugar, dried fruits or nuts into screw-top (plastic) jars or airtight tin cans to avoid problems with insects or rodents.
  • Replace/renew your food supply, including canned goods, once or twice a year. Check expiration dates.

Eating and Cooking

Be prepared to cook outdoors. Use a:

  • Charcoal grill
  • Barbecue
  • Camp stove

Use foods stored in the refrigerator first; use foods stored in the freezer next; use foods stored on shelves last.

Remember: These cooking methods are for outdoor use only. Cooking indoors with these items allows carbon monoxide and related gases to build up, which can quickly kill you.

Store at least a 72-hour supply of the following items:

  • Charcoal, propane, lighter fluid
  • Waterproof matches or a lighter
  • Paper towels, plastic trash bags
  • Disposable eating utensils

Preparation will reduce stress!

Disasters and emergencies can rattle the nerves of adults and children, alike. You can’t do anything to prevent disasters such as earthquakes, or emergencies like rolling blackouts, but you and your children can work together to be prepared. Encourage your children to participate in the activities outlined on the reverse side of this Focus Sheet. The recommendations have been extracted and adapted from a curriculum developed by Lissa Pederson Samuel, an instructor at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, and from “What To Expect After A Disaster: Typical Children’s Reactions,” jointly developed by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Also encourage them to draw themselves and their emergency supplies in the space provided.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 9:Focus on Children

Learn what earthquakes are and what causes them.

Explain why the ground and buildings shake. Go to a museum, a theme park or an expo that has an earthquake simulator so everyone can experience the shaking sensation.

Remind everyone that the shaking will stop. Read stories or sing songs and let your children ask questions. Learn the difference between fact and fiction.

Discuss aftershocks. Talk about the possibility that aftershocks as strong as the earthquake itself might occur and continue for some time. Make sure everyone understands that aftershocks are normal.

Assemble children’s emergency kits. Help your children to assemble their own emergency kits. Include a note from parents, a special toy, family photograph and treat, as well as water, food and other emergency supplies. Kits should meet their needs and likes. Remember, no supplies are “wrong.”

Accustom everyone to living without electricity. Go through an entire evening without using electricity to prepare everyone—especially children—for the possibility of having to live without it. Conduct a “flashlight” walk around the block; hold a candlelight or “flashlight” dinner; tell stories instead of watching television.

Coloring Page: “I’m disaster prepared!”

Draw a picture of yourself with your emergency supplies.

After a disaster or major emergency, monitor family members — particularly children — for behavioral changes, including withdrawal from family and friends, overeating or loss of appetite, disobedience and antisocial behavior. Parents and teachers can respond to such problems by encouraging interaction with family members and friends, by providing additional attention and physical comfort and by providing structured but undemanding responsibilities.

Contact your local mental health agency for more information.

Fires can put you and your home at risk!

Fires claim the lives of thousands each year. Strong temblors can trigger fires by:

  • Breaking gas lines
  • Downing electrical lines
  • Damaging wiring in appliances
  • Toppling shelves holding combustible chemicals Disaster-related fires also are caused by:
  • Leaving food unattended on the stove after an earthquake strikes
  • Lighting or using matches before checking for gas leaks
  • Using fireplaces before they’ve been inspected for damage

Having a good fire extinguisher and knowing how to properly use it before a fire occurs can help save your home and your life.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 10: Learn Not to Burn

Fire Extinguishers

Equip your home with dependable fire extinguishers and teach family members how to use them. Proper use of fire extinguishers can keep a small fire from growing, provide you with an escape route through a small fire and help you fight a small fire until professional firefighters arrive.

How to Operate

Hold the extinguisher upright and remember the word “P-A-S-S”:

P for Pull: Pull the pin, ring or seal.
A for Aim: Aim the extinguisher nozzle at the base of the fire. Remember, most fire extinguishers
last only 8-10 seconds. Make sure you aim at the base of the fire before you release.
S for Squeeze: Squeeze or press the handle.
S for Sweep: Sweep slowly from side to side at the base of the fire until the fire goes out.

Buying Tips

Several types of fire extinguishers are available:

  • Extinguishers labeled "A" are effective for combating fires involving paper, cloth, wood or other ordinary combustibles.
  • Extinguishers labeled "B" are effective for fighting fires involving gasoline, kitchen grease, paints, solvents or other flammable liquids.
  • Extinguishers labeled "C" are effective for fighting fires involving electrical equipment, wiring and appliances.
  • Multipurpose dry chemical extinguishers labeled "ABC" are effective for fighting most types of fires.
  • Generally speaking, an A-B-C type extinguisher is recommended for home use.

Safety Tips

  • Make sure you have a clear escape route before you attempt to put out a fire.
  • Stay low to avoid fumes and smoke.
  • Double check to make sure the fire is completely out.
  • After an earthquake, turn off your stove and unplug all appliances.
  • Get out immediately and call 9-1-1 to notify authorities.

Smoke Detectors

You can reduce your risk of fire-related death or injury, particularly during sleeping hours, by installing smoke detectors in the following locations:

  • Bedrooms
  • Hallways and corridors between rooms
  • Stairway ceilings
  • Basements, attics and garages
  • Living room and den

Be sure to test your smoke detectors each month and change batteries annually. This also is a good time to check your fire extinguishers.

You might be without power for hours!

Every home should have emergency flashlights and spare batteries. The magnitude-6.7 Northridge earthquake in 1994 damaged several Los Angeles City Department of Water and Power (DWP) facilities. The quake also damaged several high voltage transmission lines and caused some towers to fail completely.

As a result, much of the city was without power for the first time in its history. DWP personnel were able to restore service to 93 percent of the city within 24 hours, but it might take much longer in a larger, regional earthquake. The quake also left an additional 750,000 customers in nearby cities and in cities tied to the power grid from other states without electricity for several hours to several days. Don’t be left in the dark. Before the next emergency strikes protect your family by obtaining battery-operated flashlights and extra batteries for your home, office and car.

Sources included the City of Los Angeles and the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 11: Emergency Lighting

Flashlights

Flashlights can provide psychological comfort and immediate emergency light when disasters or other
emergencies disrupt power. They’re good only when you can find them and the batteries work.
Place a flashlight in every room; secure each one to ensure accessibility. Maintain an ample supply of extra batteries. Check them every six months.

Lightsticks

Lightsticks also are an excellent source of emergency light and do not require electricity or batteries to operate. Maintain an ample supply for each family member.

Wall Units

Emergency wall units that plug into electrical sockets and activate when electricity is disrupted also can provide emergency light during power outages.

Radios

Reliable information and instructions are essential after a damaging disaster or emergency. Protect yourself and your family by including battery-operated portable radios or televisions and extra batteries in your emergency preparedness kits.

Special Needs

Electrical outages also can impact persons with hearing impairments and others with special needs. Prepare NOW by including the following, as appropriate, in your emergency kits:

  • Extra batteries for hearing aids, TDDs, wheelchairs
  • Generator for life-safety equipment

Checking Utilities

Disasters can also damage utility lines and appliances, putting your home at risk to fire.

Before the next emergency:

  • Show responsible family members the location of your electrical service panel and teach them how to turn off service.
  • Conduct family drills and simulate turning off electricity to test family skills.

After the next emergency:

  • Determine if electricity is out only in your home or throughout the neighborhood.
  • Check for damaged appliances, as well as fallen, loose or damaged electrical wires.
  • Disconnect damaged appliances.
  • Stop power flow at the service panel if your wiring is damaged.
  • Turn off gas only if you hear or smell a leak.
  • Reenergize circuits by turning on the main panel first and then each breaker individually.
  • Call the gas company to restore service. Do not turn the gas back on yourself.

Sources included "Earthquake Awareness," Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

Safety tip:

Do not use candles, hurricane lamps, lanterns and other objects that rely on an open flame for lighting. Large and even moderate aftershocks that usually accompany damaging earthquakes can topple these items and cause fire. Items with open flames also can trigger explosions by igniting leaking gas.

Show you care!

Are you having trouble deciding what to get a family member, friend or coworker for the holidays or an upcoming birthday? If so, a survival gift might be the answer, especially for someone who hasn’t already bought or assembled their own emergency preparedness kit. Flashlights, portable battery-operated radios, first aid kits and other emergency supplies will be valuable after a damaging earthquake since people living in the affected area might have to rely on themselves for at least 72 hours.

Make a list of persons for whom you’re going to buy or assemble survival gifts. List what you think everyone needs. Depending on your financial situation and the needs of the people on your list, you might get one item or an entire kit. You also can coordinate with other relatives, friends and coworkers to buy different emergency supply items or to assemble kits as a group project, with each participant contributing one item to the kits. The reverse side of this Focus Sheet offers suggestions on holiday gifts that will help prepare your friends and neighbors for the next earthquake or emergency.

These are only suggestions for preparing your family. Use discretion and common sense in your preparations.

STEP 12: Gifts of Life

  • Less than $5
  • Bottled water: For drinking.
  • Dust mask: To reduce inhalation of dust particles.
  • Emergency (foil) blanket: For warmth.
  • Emergency reflectors (set of four): To warn approaching vehicles that a car is stopped or abandoned.
  • Local maps: To guide you if you need to use alternate routes to walk or drive to your destination.
  • Manual can opener: To open canned goods in an emergency food supply.
  • Nonperishable food: Dried fruit, unsalted nuts and other high-energy foods to provide nourishment and energy.
  • Safety lightsticks: To provide light, especially good for use by children.
  • Whistle: To signal, attract or call for help in an emergency.

$5-10

  • Books, games, toys: To provide comfort to children after an emergency.
  • Comfort and personal hygiene kit: Mouthwash, toothbrush, toothpaste, wet wipes, deodorant, sunscreen, etc.
  • Flashlight, spare bulb, and batteries: To provide light if power is out or the user needs to walk home at night.
  • Pocket knife: To cut rope or other materials.
  • Sturdy work gloves: To protect hands from sharp objects and debris.

$10-20

  • Duffel bag or backpack: To store items that comprise an emergency kit.
  • First aid kit (for one) and book: To treat cuts, burns and abrasions.
  • Hand tools: Wrenches, crowbars, pliers, screwdrivers, etc., to help turn off utilities, remove debris, etc.
  • Multipurpose ABC-type fire extinguisher: To help combat small residential fires that might result from downed power lines, damaged wiring in appliances or other causes since firefighters might not be available for at least 72 hours.
  • Portable battery-operated radio: To provide access to information and instructions if power is disrupted.

Over $20

  • Camp stove or barbecue: To facilitate outdoor cooking should gas leaks or other factors make cooking indoors impractical.
  • Commercially made emergency kit: For home, office or car.
  • Lantern: To provide emergency lighting that does not rely on an open flame.
  • Sleeping bag: To provide warmth and comfort if you have to sleep outside.
  • Sturdy shoes: To protect feet from broken glass and other sharp objects.
  • Tent: To provide protection from rain, wind and other environmental elements.

This action sheet is produced as part of the Emergency Survival Program (ESP). ESP is an awareness campaign designed to increase individual and home emergency preparedness. ESP was developed by the County of Los Angeles. The California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (OES) and representatives from Imperial, Inyo, Kern, Los Angeles, Mono, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, Ventura and Yuma counties assist in the development of campaign materials and coordination of the campaign.