Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) has an EOC that complies with the Standardized Emergency Management System (SEMS), and mobile EOC outfitted with all the equipment, communications, and resources of its primary EOC, sufficient to support emergency functions should any incident occur. CUSD has an extensive data base, virtual mapping and photographs of each school in the district, and has individual job descriptions for each position.
California has tried to raise public awareness of earthquake dangers by holding an annual drill called the Great California Shake Out (first conducted in 2008). But emergency services officials say they are worried that residents have lost the sense of urgency, particularly as people change residences, forget to refresh supplies and assume local, state and federal government agencies will provide for them.
All Orange County residents should take an active role to protect each other, families and friends in the event of an emergency (www.readyoc.org). Think of the national emergency management system as a pyramid with householders forming the base of the structure. The local community, state and the federal government also are part of the pyramid.
Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) is composed of neighbors working as volunteers trained to assist during emergencies. After certification, members attend monthly meetings and are involved in training exercises. Local agencies have training schedule information.
After a disaster, residents will need to provide their own food, water and other supplies for at least three days. Local officials and relief workers on the scene after a disaster cannot reach everyone immediately. Help may take hours or days to arrive. Basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment, and telephones may be cut off for days, a week or longer. Also, residents may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice, taking essential belongings.
The Orange County Red Cross recommends every home should plan how to deal with all kinds of disasters. Part of a disaster plan is to have two emergency kits: one for the home and one for the car. The home kit should be stored in an easily accessible location and placed into a mobile, watertight container such as a wheeled trash barrel. The car kit should be in an easily carried pack, such as a backpack, and each kit should have an identification tag for each person.
The Red Cross suggests the following items for both the home and car kits:
• First aid kit and essential medications.
• Canned food and can opener.
• At least three gallons of water per person.
• Protective clothing, rainwear and bedding or sleeping bags.
• Battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries.
• Special items for infant, elderly, or disabled family members.
• Written instructions for how to turn off gas, electricity and water if necessary.
• Keep essentials, such as a flashlight and sturdy shoes, by your bedside.
To view the complete list and to learn more about how to prepare for any potential disaster, visit the Red Cross website at www.oc-redcross.org.
Other disaster planning tips include registering for Alert OC, the mass notification system designed to keep Orange County residents and businesses informed of emergencies. Also, information about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program can be obtained at each city hall.