A big, blustering storm with the potential for 50-mile per hour winds is set to come our way this evening. If last week’s weather is any indication of what’s to come, it might be time to settle in and prepare for what’s coming. Here are some tips on what to do, from where to get free sandbags to who to call in an emergency:
- Brush up on your emergency contacts. The City of Richmond has an official Community Guide to Emergency Preparedness. Though primarily earthquake-oriented, this guide contains 24-hour emergency numbers to help handle medical, transportation, and energy emergencies.
- Prepare your home. Bring in garbage cans, furniture, or any other outdoor item that may fly around in heavy winds. In the event of a flood, elevate anything susceptible to water damage. Free sand bags are available at the Contra Costa Crisis Center from 7:30 am to 3:30 pm, at the Bayview Fire Station (4801 Bayview Avenue), and at the Public Works Corporation Yard (6-13th Street, cross street at Chanslor Avenue. Enter through Harbour Way).
- Mind the plants. Downed trees are a given — and a huge hazard — in any windstorm. Avoid parking under large trees, take down any dead branches that may fall, and secure your garden. Covering a garden with a tarp can help ensure that plants don’t fly away while protecting it from what the wind may hurl its way.
- Keep an eye out for your neighbors. Seniors who live alone may not have an easy way to get help in the event of an emergency. Once the winds have calmed, drop by your neighbors’ houses to see how they’re doing.
- Assemble a kit. A disaster supplies kit packed with food, medical supplies, and water can help tie you over if you find yourself without power or an easy mode of transportation. Read FEMA’s official list of what to pack here.
In the future, you can become an expert in community emergency preparedness by joining the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). Learn more about the program here. Members of the CERT team can be reached through these contacts:
-Kathryn Gerk, Richmond OES Manager: (510) 620-6866; firstname.lastname@example.org
-Sandi Genser-Maack, Vice-Chair of CAPER (Citizens Advisory Panel on Emergency Readiness and Response): (510) 237-5670 (H); email@example.com
-Angelina Rocco, leader of the N&E CERT team: (510) 672-0955 (M); firstname.lastname@example.org