Notes from the EPIcenter: Planning the Plan
Okay, I avoided the topic of Making a Plan last post, but I don’t think I can push it off any further. While I am a planner’s planner, and there is nothing I love to do more than make lists, I find the task of making an earthquake plan very daunting for some reason. Maybe because it feels like there is so much riding on it? Or maybe because creating a plan I may never get to execute is unsatisfying? (Yes, I know that is strange logic). Whatever the reason, I am willing to overcome my unwillingness to make this plan just for you, Kidspace readers.
First step: Research. After cruising around the internet looking for some info on how to create a plan, I realized that what I was envisioning as the process was totally different (and way more work) that what I actually needed to do. I was thinking I would have to make the plan, create some physical document of what my family and I were going to do in the face of disaster. Good news: earthquake and disaster readiness agencies have already created the plan- the only thing to really do is to check off the list of key things they recommend doing. The really good news is that most of the things to do, I’ve already done, and I am willing to bet most of you have too!
Thanks to the hard work of our friends at the Southern California Earthquake Center and the Earthquake Country Alliance, (http://www.scec.org/ and http://www.earthquakecountry.info/ ), there is an amazing resource available to us all called Putting Down Roots in Earthquake Country. This guide breaks down the planning process into three areas, and there are full checklists of actions items for each area. I have summarized some of the key points here:
- Plan to be safe during an earthquake: This one is cake. Practice “drop, cover, and hold on” with your families. Check. Identify safe places in your home, at work, and at other places you may frequent. Dining room table identified, office desk identified, check and check.
- Plan to respond after an earthquake: This one requires a bit more action, because the goal is to make sure you have some things in place to be able to effectively act after a quake to keep you and your loved ones safe. Some of the recommendations we already had in place, like installing and testing fire alarms, and keeping shoes and flashlights by the bed. We also are CPR and First Aid trained. Other recommendations like identify your water, gas, and electric shut-offs and learning how to shut them down and finding out if there are is a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) in the area required a little more work but was easy to do.
- Plan to communicate after an earthquake: This was the most challenging step because it required more thought than the other steps, and we are still working on it, but the most important thing to figure out is how you and your family will communicate and get to each other after a quake, in the event you are not together. 50 hours a week I am apart from my husband and child, so thinking about how we would get our daughter, and get home, if that is even an option, is something we need to figure out. Other recommendations along those lines include establishing an out-of-area contact, getting familiar with how your child’s school or daycare responds to emergencies, and keeping copies of essential documents in a waterproof safe location.
After having faced my fear of making an earthquake plan, I can honestly say I feel more in control of an uncontrollable situation. As we walk through this process together, I hope you also feel better able to manage the possible outcomes of a large earthquake or other disaster.
Blog Entry by:
Lauren Kaye, Senior Operations Manager, has worked at Kidspace Children’s Museum over four years. Her current focus includes safety, facilities management, exhibits, and technology. Her favorite exhibit at the museum is the Observation Beehive.