Natural disaster preparedness for kababayans

by Steve Angeles, ABS-CBN News, Los Angeles


Emergencies and disasters can strike at any time. In Los Angeles, Philippine officials are trying to prepare kabayabans for any worst possible scenarios – from earthquakes, wild fires, house fires, natural disasters, and even accidents.

The American Red Cross is making sure Filipinos have a plan in case something happens.

The Philippine Consulate and the American Red Cross have partnered for the past three years, in an effort to encourage kababayans to be prepared for any type of disaster, encouraging them to not only keep survival supplies but to also come up with meeting plans and escape routes for home and the workplace.

“There’s a lot of this general confusion about what it takes to be prepared,” said Jeanie Wu of the Red Cross.  “It’s easy as having basic water, knowing and understanding how to get additional resources when the disaster occurs, and then talking about it with you family so you don’t face that anxiety when disaster happens.

“This is for the entire community, to be prepared for the disasters. It’s not only earthquake but as you know fire,” said community leader Cirilo Pinlac.

Philippine L.A. Consulate General Adel Cruz knows the importance of evacuation plans. Prior to Los Angeles, he served in conflict-ridden Libya.

“Please replicate what you have learned with your loved ones, because when the big one happens I want you all to be prepared,” Cruz shared.

One of the biggest threats in California is earthquakes.

While there is no way to accurately predict when earthquakes can happen, Roderick Dela Cruz, an engineer with the Seismic Resiliency Program of SoCal Edison, says there are some 50 fault lines in Southern California, causing a lot of potential for earthquakes.

“According to the recent study, there’s a hundred percent chance probability that a magnitude 6 or greater can happen in California in the next 30 years,” Dela Cruz said. “It can happen tomorrow. It can happen week next week or next month.

The Red Cross says to not only have survival equipment – food, water, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits – but also copies of important documents, such as IDs to insurance.

Phone numbers of loved ones, local hospitals, local police and fire departments should also be saved.

No matter when or what kind of disaster hits, it’s important for the community to be ready to respond.

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