Ben Green, CEO of the American Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter, is a man on a mission and if he has his way everyone living in California, especially Los Angeles County, will have an Emergency Preparedness Plan in their homes, offices and cars. I recently had the enlightening opportunity to speak with Ben, who is also my fellow Pasadena Chamber of Commerce Board Member, about Emergency Preparedness. This week’s conversation is the first in what will be a series of blogs on my discussion with Ben.
We began our conversation talking about our families, music (Ben loves the Motown era music) careers and health. The conversation then shifted to emergency preparedness. Ben intimated every home should have an Emergency Preparedness Plan which meeting points for your families (in case your homes are destroyed), out-of-town contact lists, hotels information, evacuation plan, an emergency kit and water, lots of water. Ben informed me of an APP that you can download for “free” on the Red Cross website which details important information on emergency preparedness. He also debunked the thought I had that it was best to stand under a doorway during an earthquake. He advised standing in doorways are dangerous, because doors could to swing shut and injure you. He also advised some pieces of furniture can be a potential danger, for example a ceiling fan above your bed could fall and seriously injure you during an earthquake. Having your bed next to windows are also not safe, because breaking glass will shatter and potentially harm you. Most important is water. At least three (3) gallons a day for each person for 10 days should be stored in your home. When a severe disaster strikes, you will have to be on your own since the Fire and Police Departments will go to aid of the most vulnerable citizens, such as nursing homes and hospitals, first.
He recommended preparing your neighbors for disasters. Because if they are not prepared when disaster strikes, they will be banging on your door for help. This could be chaotic while an emergency is taking place. So, Ben stressed the importance of hosting “preparedness parties” at your homes. You could invite the Red Cross and they’ll come out and speak to you and your neighbors regarding emergency preparedness. You should visit the Red Cross stores to discern what you will need in case of a disaster. And, most important, speak with your children and discuss what should be in your emergency preparedness kit. You should have a kit in your home, office and car. Ben is so prepared, he mentioned having a preparedness kit in his car which predicates if a disaster occurs he doesn’t have to get home to access his emergency plan. His wife also has a preparedness kit in her car.
Conversing with Ben enlightened me that if you don’t have water during a disaster, it’s your own fault. Water is cheap to buy. It’s about .90 cents a gallon. Remember the ideal situation is to host a Preparedness Party and have someone from the Red Cross come out and speak about emergency preparedness to your neighbors. It is critical to know which of your neighbors are trained in CPR and first aid. If there is a major earthquake and someone has a heart attack, the paramedics might not be able to attend your needs immediately, because they will be on duty helping others.
After speaking with Ben, my advice is “get your neighborhood ready.” Please don’t wait on hurricanes, fires, floods or earthquakes to occur before you get your Emergency Preparedness Plans in place.