Your nerves may still be rockin’ and rollin’ after experiencing the 7.1 Southern California earthquake in July. Some of us wives were left very shaken, especially those with fire spouses at work at the time of the shakers. It’s not an easy thing to comfort our children and attempt to settle our own nerves at the same time.
Are you aware that in an event of a major catastrophe, all fire department personnel will be placed on department-wide recall? What does this mean? In short, in the event of a department-wide recall, all off-duty members will need to report to work as soon as possible, and those on duty, will remain on duty until the emergency is under control.
One fire family shared of their experience from the 1994 Northridge Earthquake—they were shaken out of bed by the event. They watched as flashes of light illuminated the sky across the Valley from their home as an Edison sub-station exploded and plunged their house and entire neighborhood into darkness. With only their nerves frayed, the husband/firefighter went right into action and secured his home, took his wife to nearby family and reported to work—he wouldn’t see them for three day after. Though the firefighter’s wife was well aware of her husband’s responsibilities, and knew what her husband had to do, she nevertheless still felt alone and abandoned. Thankful they got through it and are here to share their experience.
“It’s not easy to comfort our children, settle our own nerves and carry on
when our firefighter spouses are away for days during an emergency.”
It takes a special spouse to manage things alone when theses unfortunate events arise. I take the recent earthquake as a wakeup call and reminder that I always need to be prepared—day or night! There are many preparations to take into account. Here is a list of a few:
1. Get educated on how to/when to turn off utilities
2. Always keep extra water in your household supplies
3. Keep a nonperishable food supply in a secured area. Enough for up to 3-5 days
4. Keep working flashlights near beds and throughout the house
5. Keep gas tanks filled when possible but always maintain a minimum of a half a tank
6. Get a list of neighbors phone #’s. If you don’t know your neighbors, here is your excuse.
7. If it matters to you, look into earthquake insurance
8. If at all possible, have an out-of-state contact
9. Keep some cash on hand. ATM, credit card readers, and such don’t work without electricity.
Lastly, make some time to take inventory of important items and create a list of what is needed. As one concerned fire spouse to another, always be prepared, and don’t be caught off guard!
Important facts to know in major emergencies….
• Markets will be cleared out quickly or closed
• ATM’s will be emptied out or be out of service
• Good luck on trying to get gas
• Texting may be available, but calling on cell or landlines may not available
The LAFD has just published a new Emergency Preparedness Guide for 2019. It’s a very comprehensive document that’s easy to use and packed with loads of useful information. You can download it from https://www.cert-la.com/EmergPrepBooklet.pdf
By Bonnie Lopez