In Times of Emergency

By David Burbidge

I'm writing this piece in December after we have witnessed the largest fire in California history to the south of us, and I wonder what next year holds for this area. This past year there were fires, floods and a few little earthquakes in our area. We all need to be prepared as much as possible for any eventuality, so remember the basics of emergency preparedness:

Have a "GO" kit prepared with what you might need for 72 hours, such as food, clothing, etc., and also a separate "important stuff" kit for valuables. (And don't forget your pets' needs.) Phones may not function, so you should have a portable radio available. And always obey any evacuation orders.

If you need emergency information or assistance, following is a partial list of sources:
  • Cal Fire (CALFIRE.CA.GOV) has information regarding fires and evacuations. This website is updated frequently. It also provides checklists for emergency preparedness.
  • Monterey County Office of Emergency Services can provide information about floods, earthquakes, and other emergencies at its
  • United Way has a phone network at "211" where you can get information about just about everything you might need or find out where to get assistance.
  • Everyone should be enrolled in the emergency notification system (the reverse 911 system) by accessing and registering to receive emergency notifications on your phone(s).

Smart phones have many apps regarding what to do in case of an emergency. You should search for these and download appropriate ones.

If you are unfortunate enough to be prevented from using your home because of an emergency, the American Red Cross (REDCROSS.ORG) will provide immediate assistance to get you through a day or two. Tell the responders that you need help and they will notify the disaster assistance team to come and provide assistance.

Be safe this coming year!