Disaster preparedness on a budget: advice on insurance, supplies, etc.
Emergency preparedness instructions are usually complicated, multi-step checklists are available in a limited number of languages, and disaster kits can be a large and expensive investment.
According to Steve Kang, director of external communications at Koreatown Youth and Community Center, barriers like these prevent some communities from being as prepared as possible. So if preparing for an earthquake or other disaster seems too expensive or time consuming, this guide is for you.
Before the disaster
Before you do anything else, Laurie Schoeman, senior director of the resilience program at Enterprise Community Partners, a national nonprofit focused on affordable housing, said you need to get earthquake insurance. Earth.
If you are among the 64.1% of Angelenos who rent, your options for making structural changes to your living space to make it more secure are limited. You can talk to your landlord about the seismic improvements that have been made to your building, but you are actually only controlling what is inside your house. This is where adding earthquake coverage to your tenant’s policy comes in.
It can protect you if your property is damaged by earthquake. Another insurance policy might seem like a financial burden, but Carlos Martín, senior researcher at the Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center at the Urban Institute, said it’s one of the most important things you can do to help. yourself.
The cost will depend on the insurer you choose. The California Earthquake Authority has an insurance calculator who can help you determine the best policy for your needs. Average costs for renters can be less than $ 12 per month.
People might not see the point in spending money on things they may never use and have to throw away every year, said David Eisenman, director of the Center for Public Health Disasters.
But you don’t have to shell out $ 300 for a zombie-apocalypse pack. Only the essential is necessary. And you can eat whatever food you put in your anti-seismic kit before it expires, so there’s no need to waste it. Just be sure to replace it.
Help your neighbors
Once you’ve got yourself covered, it’s time to take a look at your community. Share capital, as seismologist Lucy Jones writes, is one of the most important things you can invest in.
Reach out to your neighbors to see what they need, said Mary Comerio, a senior school professor in the UC Berkeley Department of Architecture. Investigate the resources available in your area, such as nonprofits or faith groups. What can you do to support them?
Building a network of resources and supplies, Martín said, can help fill gaps when outside resources such as state and federal aid are not available. Power lines can be down; roads can be blocked. So what can you do in your immediate area? Building that social capital, he said, is a powerful way to prevent further trauma and increase your community’s chances of rebounding.
He cautioned, however, to “put on your oxygen mask first before helping others.” Make sure you and your family have what you need; if you need help, ask for it. Once you feel secure in your emergency preparedness plan, you can help others.
Programs such as Map your neighborhood and Community emergency response teams provide free resources that can help you and your community prepare together.
Consider collecting extra emergency supplies for your neighbors, Martín suggested. If everyone participates a little, the whole community can be safer.
Smartphone apps and social media can keep you informed in the event of a disaster, but if you don’t have access to these tools, you still have options.
Los Angeles County Hosts Site with an interactive map of emergency shelters, evacuation orders, road closures and more.
If you need resources, 211 LA can find you shelters, donation collection sites, and other services by simply entering your location and specific needs.
Los Angeles County Alert, Notify LA and Nixle are services to which you can subscribe to receive emergency alerts by phone call or messaging.
During a disaster
Thanks to film and television, the concept of the Big One has been exaggerated. While a large earthquake will disrupt much of our daily life, it will not shatter us in the Pacific Ocean or open a fire pit in the middle of Los Angeles. What it could do is shut off the electricity, which means anything that needs an outside power supply will be unusable until the lines are restored. Debris, mudslides and other hazards could block roads.
While the earth is shaking, the best thing you can do is drop, cover, and hang on. Running out of the house, crouching in a doorway, or snuggling up next to your bed might sound like good ideas, but they’re not.
Getting under a sturdy piece of furniture, like a table or desk, is really the only way to ensure that you and your family are safe.
If you are in a place where you cannot go under anything, then get down to the ground and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
After a disaster
The recovery process will depend on how prepared you are. Because people in low-income communities sometimes face more hurdles when it comes to preparing, Martín said, the effects of a disaster are much stronger and the payback period takes longer. time.
Schoeman of Enterprise Community Partners estimates that “the amount of money spent on recovery is 20 times the amount that could be spent on mitigating and reducing this risk.”
Access to information about recovery resources is also limited, Kang said.
When a natural disaster occurs, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is often called upon to provide services. While FEMA’s immediate relief services are available to everyone, federally-funded assistance programs are only accessible to people with a social security number, Martín said. This means that many people in immigrant communities cannot apply for post-disaster assistance.
Others may be reluctant to seek help because they fear immigration authorities will be alerted. The American Red Cross, although working with the federal government, is independent and can provide assistance to anyone in need.
This is also where a strong reserve of social capital is invaluable. Community groups, neighbors and mutual funds can often meet recovery needs better than an outside group.
As you build on your community, it will also need to be rebuilt. There are “basic human things,” Comerio said that anyone can do – simple things like watching their neighbor or making a call.