When Disaster Strikes

When Disaster Strikes

In the event of a disaster, there is security in knowing you are not on your own until help arrives. One of your neighbors has volunteered to be a member of the San Vincente Mobile Home Park Disaster Preparedness Group (DPG).

Should disaster strike, that person (your block captain) will check with you to see if you are okay or if you need assistance. If assistance is needed they can radio other volunteers and help will be on its way. It is neighbor helping neighbor at its best!

Preparing Your Family for an Emergency

When preparing for an emergency, plan on having enough supplies to get to you and your family through the first 72 hours (maybe up to a week). After a major emergency, there’s a good chance that traditional emergency response teams will be too busy to take care of you and your family. You need to prepare your home and neighborhood.

The Plan

The DPG has some supplies and equipment but is not capable of providing emergency provisions and supplies for the 270 units in our park.

  • Consider what you will do if you are without electricity and/or gas for a prolonged period of time. Make provisions for that possibility.
  • Stock up on at least a three day (water up to a week) supply of food, water, clothes, medical supplies and other necessary equipment for everyone in your family. Make sure everyone knows where to find them. SEE INFORMATION SHEET ON EMERGENCY SUPPLIES CHECKLIST.
  • Prepare yourself, your home, your family, and property for an emergency.

Preparations before the Event

If you need assistance preparing to follow these suggested procedures, contact your block captain.

Decide where and when to reunite your family.

  • Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone services will probably restored sooner than local services. Do not use the phone immediately after a major emergency.
  • Know the policies of the school or day care center your children attend. Make plans to have someone pick them up if you are unable to get to them.
  • If you have a family member who does not speak English, prepare an emergency card written in English indicating that person’s identification, address and any special needs such as medication or allergies. Tell that person to keep the card with him/her at all times.

Know the safest place in each room because it will be difficult to move from one room to another during an earthquake or explosion.

Establish all the possible ways to exit your house. Keep those areas clear.

Anchor tall cabinets, book cases, china cabinets, telephones, life support systems (i.e. oxygen tanks), water heater, furnace, water softener to a wall (stud).

Put security lights in each room.

Have a whistle to signal for help.


  • Earthquake DUCK, COVER and HOLD drills every six months with your family.
  • STOP, DROP, and ROLL drills for fires as well as emergency exit drills in the house (EDITH) regularly.
  • Include your babysitter and other household help in your plans.

Locate shutoff valves for water, gas and electricity. If you have any questions, call your utility company. Remember not to shut off utility valves unless directed to do so by your utility company.

Make copies of your vital records and keep them in a safe deposit box in another city or state. Make sure your originals are stored safely. SEE “GRAB AND GO” BOX.

  • Take photos and/or videos of your valuables. Make copies and keep them with a friend or relative in another city or state.
  • Keep extra cash and change. If electricity is out, you will not be able to use an ATM.
  • Keep an extra pair of eyeglasses and house and car keys on hand.

Before a major emergency occurs, call your local Red Cross chapter and Office of Emergency Services to find out about their plans for emergency shelters and temporary medical centers in case of disaster.

  • Know the locations of the nearest fire and police stations.
  • Know the route you would take to any of the shelters. Check on buildings, power lines, bridges, large trees that might case road hazards. Have a secondary route mapped out in case the primary route is blocked.

Keep this website address with you for use during and after an emergency (see After the Event below). You could also give this website address to friends and relatives as a possible place to find out how you and this community are doing.

General Tips During the Event

During an earthquake or explosion, stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large glass panes, shelves holding objects, and large decorative masonry, brick or plaster such as fireplaces.

  • Keep your hallway clear. It is usually one of the safest places to be during an earthquake or explosion.
  • Stay away from kitchens and garages, which tend to be the most dangerous places because of the many items, are kept there.
  • If you are in bed or sitting down, do not get up.
  • If you are standing, duck and cover or sit down. You could be thrown to the floor.
  • Be prepared to DUCK, COVER and HOLD a desk or table or an interior wall.
  • If you are in an office building, stay away from windows. Do not use elevators. Walls near elevators are stronger than other walls.
  • If you are outside stay clear of buildings, power lines, large trees or anything else that call fall on you.
  • When driving, move the car out of traffic and stop. Try to get clear of trees, light posts, signs, and power lines. Avoid parking under or on bridges or overpasses. When you resume, watch out for road hazards.
  • If you are in the mountainous area, be aware of landslides.
  • If you are near the ocean, be aware that tsunamis are associated with large earthquakes. Get to high ground.

During a fire, make sure you are ready to STOP, DROP, and ROLL to protect yourself.

If you are in a crowded public place, avoid panicking. Do not rush to the exit. Stay low and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms and walk out of danger.

After the Event

Notify the Block Captains. There is an OK painted inside the door on your mailbox. If you are okay, go out to your mail box and open the flap. The OK indicate all is well in your unit.

Check for Fire or fire hazards.

  • If you smell gas at the meter, hot water heater, kitchen appliances or fireplace, shut off the main gas valve immediately. AVOID USING ALL ELECRICAL SWITCHES.
  • If there is evidence of damage to electrical wiring, shut off the power at the control box.
  • If you see water leaking in or around your home, shut off the water valve.

If the phone is working, only use it in emergency.

After an earthquake or explosion, be aware items may fall out of the cupboards or closets when the door is open.

After a disaster, check your structure for damages to the roof, supports, and other parts of the home.

Listen to the radio for important information and instructions.

During and after an emergency residents, and concerned friends and relatives of residents living elsewhere may be able to seek and share helpful updates and information. Keep this svmha.wordpress.com website address with you to use in an emergency so you can find out the latest about your home and community, and to let everyone know if you’re OK or need help. You might also share or seek information about local conditions on the Edhat online Local News section.

Remember that aftershocks, sometimes large enough to cause additional damage generally follow large earthquakes.

If you do leave your home, leave a message telling friends and family (and your block captain) of your location.