Be prepared for emergencies, check out these resources

It’s human nature to be complacent when it comes to emergency preparedness because emergencies by definition don’t happen very often. While we know we are supposed to make contingency plans to survive a disaster, many of us don’t.

For your own peace of mind, take the time to get ready now. Plenty of resources exist locally, regionally, and nationally to help residents with emergency preparedness. To ensure your family is ready and protected when the next blackout, earthquake or wildfire strikes, take advantage of the following resources.

Ready San Diego

Ready San Diego (www.ReadySanDiego.org) was created by the San Diego County Office of Emergency Services in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to both natural disasters and terrorist attacks.

ReadySanDiego.org contains resources on how to prepare your family, pets, children and business for emergencies. The site links to an interactive hazards map created by the California Emergency Management Agency that allows users to enter an address and see whether a location is in the danger zones for earthquake, fire, flood and tsunami.

This website also offers a Family Disaster Plan and Personal Survival Guide in multiple languages, including Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese. In addition, it features real-time Twitter feeds from local public safety agencies about fires and other emergencies.

FEMA Ready Kids

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has created a special website –

www.ready.gov/kids – filled with cartoon characters, activities and games to make emergency preparedness fun for kids.

Pack it Up, one of the interactive games featured on the site, helps children and their families remember what to put in an emergency supply kit. There is also a scavenger hunt game, which is designed to get the whole family involved in collecting supplies for the kit. Visitors to the site can print out instructions on how to play the game with their family.

Another section of the website educates children about weather events and unexpected situations, everything from earthquakes to tsunamis to terrorism.

Connect-ED and school safety plans

The San Diego Unified School District uses a service called Connect-ED to send out voice messages and emails en masse to parents and guardians to notify them of emergencies and school events.

Check with your child’s school to make sure your current contact information is in the Connect-ED system. To learn more about Connect-ED, visit www.sandi.net/Page/2998.

By law, every California campus must have a school safety plan. Ask to review a copy of the plan. Standard procedures require school staff to stay until all children are safety reunited with parents or designated adults whose names are on their emergency cards. Make sure your child’s emergency card information is up to date.

American Red Cross, San Diego/Imperial Counties Chapter

The local American Red Cross offers two types of disaster assistance. One type involves providing material items, which include food, shelter, cleanup kits and financial help. The second type involves counseling, guidance and advocacy. The organization also trains volunteers for disaster response. To learn more, visit www.sdarc.org.

In addition, the local chapter has teamed up with corporate partners to create www.PrepareSanDiego.org, which contains emergency-specific checklists in English and Spanish.

2-1-1 San Diego

During a disaster or emergency, 2-1-1 San Diego provides information about road closures, shelter locations and recovery assistance. Residents can either dial 211 or visit www.211sandiego.org for help 24/7. 2-1-1 San Diego offers referrals in multiple languages.

To receive updates, sign up for the agency’s email list online.

Remember it is your responsibility to create a disaster plan and that having such a plan can make a dramatic difference in how well you and your loved ones survive unforeseen situations.