The Los Angeles County Fire Department, along with FEMA and Ready.gov, strongly encourage residents to be prepared to be on their own for seven days without electricity, water service, access to a supermarket, or local services.
To help local residents prepare, the City of Lakewood is offering a free, 90 minute Survive for 7 workshop on Tuesday, May 8 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Lakewood Youth Center. Sign up online. The course number is 28275 RSVPs are required. Or, call 562-866-9771, extension 2408.
Living in “earthquake country” tends to make many Californians jaded about preparedness. Officials note that only 57% of people report that they have readiness items set aside in their homes for use in a disaster. Just 34% have readiness supplies in their car, fewer than 50% of households have an emergency plan, and 42% say they would need help during a disaster.
While the “big one” can happen at any time, smaller disasters are nothing to take lightly. Public safety officials point to April’s devastating series of tornadoes that razed communities throughout the Midwest and the South. In Joplin, Missouri, pickup trucks became ambulances, doors served as stretchers, and a university transformed itself into a hospital.
More recently, parts of the east coast were dealt Hurricane Irene. The cost of the storm and subsequent flooding have an estimated cost of $2-3 billion and several dozen deaths.
Lakewood officials urge residents to see these as "preparedness" wake-up calls. They hope families will remember and implement the city's Survive for 7 motto. “We used to think that three days was the standard,” says Lakewood’s Emergency Services Manager Karen Plantz. “But after watching the effects of various real-world disasters, we now say you need to be prepared for a week.”
Common-sense planning and gathering basic necessities are important tasks that everyone should have in place before a crisis hits. Lakewood residents can go to www.lakewoodcity.org/7days for guidelines.
The City of Lakewood has been training community members in personal and family preparedness for 20 years through the Neighborhood Watch program, Survive for 7 workshops and through supporting the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training program. Click for video