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Publication Date: Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Be prepared for disaster, says police officer Be prepared for disaster, says police officer (September 11, 2002)

Come flood, earthquake or terrorist attack, "The best thing that people can do is just be prepared," says Cmdr. Greg Rothaus. The Menlo Park police officer recommends some general steps to prepare your household (and where applicable, your car) to sustain you for at least 72 hours during times of disaster:

** Come up with a communication plan. Prep everyone, including children, with lists of phone, pager or cell numbers for each other and for emergency services, for example.

** Keep well-stocked first-aid kits.

** Equip your home with fire extinguishers.

** Make sure your water heater is bolted down. If it topples during an earthquake, for example, the pilot light could start a fire.

** Know how to turn off the gas in your home, and make sure you have the tools handy to do it.

** Try to have at least three days' of non-perishable food items on hand (1 to 3 pounds per person, per day). Don't forget the can opener.

** Keep at least three days' worth of fresh water at the ready (1 to 2 gallons per person, per day).

** Don't forget special supplies for babies or pets -- for example, diapers, formula or dog food.

** Stock batteries and flashlights, as well as a portable radio.

** Have an extra pair of eyeglasses.

** Keep a copy of important documents in a safe place in your home, and duplicate copies somewhere else, like a safe deposit box.

** Keep some basics in your car, as well -- food, water, a first-aid kit, a blanket, flashlight, and cash.


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