Submitted November 5, 2008

Everything that could move was shaking

Hi Tom,

I had been in earthquakes before, but nothing like the 1994 Northridge one. I was staying at a friend's where they had a skylight, and the moon was coming in and out of the window. Everything that could move was shaking out of place in the kitchen, and even heavy objects were jumping around. They had one of those antique TVs in a wooden cabinet that leaped about four feet before it fell flat on it's face. Fortunately for us though, the building didn't crack and collapse. Afterward everyone was staggering outdoors in their PJ's to see if the gas main had broken (it had not which was another Godsend), and for the first time in eons, neighbors meet each other. It was totally surreal. The following day there were lines at the supermarket for water and batteries, and it took a while to get back to normal. Every little aftershock made you think another big one was coming so everyone was a little jumpy. Now I'm part of my local CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). We've been trained by the fire department, and in the event of an emergency, we'll be in the front line, trying to help. Here in California CERT is geared towards earthquakes, but the same kind of preparedness & response are applicable to other disasters. One key thing is to be prepared, and to have a plan of action.

In terms of preparedness, you should offer a seven day package (that's how long emergency personnel say you could be on your own if a major disaster struck). A family package - 4 people for 7 days, and an individual package to keep in the car or office. Make them as affordable as you can possibly make them so that people will not hesitate to buy them. If it were me, I would almost give them away - as part of trying to help the community be prepared.

Best,

David Barneda

A Note from Survival Authority, Tom Sciacca of CampingSurvival.com:

7 day kit. Good idea. Most kits are three day kits because that is what most people believe is the time frame for emergency services to show up. 3 day, 7 day? I think planning for an indefinite amount of time is best. Ask many of the folks in New Orleans that are still having problems how long it takes for the government to help. Here's the point. Limited kits are nice to have. All the stuff you need in one spot to take care of yourself and your family are nice. But it is much better idea to have a plan to take care of yourself and your family and not wait for the government to help at all. We do sell a good variety of kits at www.CampingSurvival.com but survival skills are even more important such as his CERT training and his military experience and training.

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