How to disaster-proof your home

The first step is to create a Family Disaster Plan. Here's how to get started:

Create A Family Disaster Plan

Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team.

· Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case.

· Make sure everyone knows where to find your disaster supply kit and Go kits (Go-Kits are emergency kits you pack in advance so that if an emergency strikes, you just pick up the kit and GO!)

· Have a flashlight, a pair of shoes and clothes in a plastic bag under everyone's bed in case there is an earthquake during the night.

· Determine the best escape routes from your home. Try and identify two escape routes.

· Pick two places to meet:

· Right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire.

· Outside your neighborhood in case you can't return home. Everyone must know the address and phone number.

· Ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact." After a disaster, it's often easier to call long distance. Other family members should call this person and tell them where they are.

· Everyone must know your contact's phone number.

· Discuss what to do in an evacuation.

· Plan how to take care of your pets.

· Practice your evacuation routes, Duck, Cover and Hold, and Stop Drop and Roll drills.

· Create emergency response cards for each of your family members.

· Next, find out about the disaster plans at your workplace, your children's school or daycare center and other places where your family spends time.

· Make copies of important documents and inventory valuables. Keep these in a safe depositbox or with someone outside of the immediate area.

For more information:

Neighborhood Emergency Response Team
A NERT volunteer is anyone who is active and involved in the community--or wants to be. NERT teams are best formed in neighborhoods through a partnership with existing community groups such as a Neighborhood Watch program, Rotary Club, business groups, faith based groups or a homeowners association. Together with their neighbors, team members, and co-workers, they build a NERT network within their own community, teaming with the San Francisco Fire Department. All residents can benefit from NERT training. (Participations under 18 require the signature of a parent or guardian.)

NERT connects volunteers with a network of fellow volunteers all working together for a common cause. NERT members are not shelter workers; they are trained citizen first responders who can help save lives.

The NERT Training Program is a 20 hour comprehensive program consisting of six (6) class sessions. Delivery of these 6 sessions is offered in a variety of scheduling options. The training instructors are professional firefighters. There is no cost for neighborhood training classes. There is a fee for private training.

CaliforniaVolunteers ( is the state agency that manages programs and initiatives to increase the number of Californians involved with service, which includes the coordination of volunteer activities related to disaster response and recovery. First Lady Maria Shriver serves as Honorary Chair to this organization.

About Heather Flett
Heather has curly red hair and a personality to match. She is strong willed and loves to have a challenging goal in front of her. After 28 years of leading an un-athletic life, she set out to do the Chicago Marathon and finished it. She devotes herself to projects, lists, and rituals. Heather and her husband Alec have two sons, Holden (3 ½) and Milo (1 ½). As a family, they are conscientious about their impact on the environment and use their car minimally, cook lots of locally-grown produce, and avoid buying things they don't need. She is originally from the Cleveland area of Ohio and went to Northwestern University.

Heather is a seasoned interactive project manager with 13 years of experience that she doesn't look nearly old enough to have.

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