Navy Region Southwest’s Emergency Management Office is working to ensure all San Diego-based service members and their families are prepared for any disaster through Operation Prepare.
The campaign is based on the belief that when people learn about the emergencies that are most likely to affect them and their family, their chance of safety and recovery improves.
“It is important for everyone to be prepared for disasters but I think the nature of military life makes it even more so for Sailors to be prepared. Emergencies can happen at any time and without warning,” said James Guerin, regional family emergency response coordinator. “The separations that are routine to military life tremendously increase the chances that when disaster strikes the Sailor is gone and the family is on their own. The family needs to know beforehand how to react to a disaster.”
Guerin explained that Operation Prepare is a program to get Sailors and their families to take some basic steps to prepare for disasters and emergencies.
There are three basic components to being prepared: being informed, having a plan and making an emergency kit.
“In its simplest form, we ask that Sailors and their families be informed about the threats in the area and take the steps to safeguard ourselves; have a Family Emergency Plan that tells how the family will stay in touch with each other and where they will meet up if all communication is lost; and have a kit of emergency supplies that they can quickly pick up and evacuate,” said Guerin.
After a major disaster, vital services such as water, electricity and phone lines may take hours or days to restore.
According to Guerin, affected individuals who are equipped with a family emergency plan and an emergency supply kit are more capable of surviving on their own.
“We provide resources to learn about the area’s threats, give the Sailors a blank Family Emergency Plan for them to complete, and show them an emergency kit that they can easily assemble,” said Guerin.
Preparing for an earthquake can be beneficial for all, added Guerin.
“I have read a number of articles stating that being prepared for an earthquake will put you in good shape for almost any disaster. Here in San Diego, we must recognize that we live in a seismically active area and there will be earthquakes,” said Guerin. “I have seen extensive flooding in Mission Valley, and of course we are all familiar with the rapid spread and destruction of wildfires. But if they are prepared for an earthquake, then they will be ready for the others.”
Guerin went on to explain that disasters can strike at any time and without warning.
“People should be alert to the conditions that can lead to emergencies. For example, several days of hot dry weather should alert all of us to an increased fire threat,” said Guerin. “And as we learned in 2003 and 2007, fires in remote areas of the county can quickly spread and suddenly be in our neighborhoods.”
Guerin encourages all Sailors and family members to get involved with Operation Prepare.
“We will leap on any opportunity to promote disaster preparedness and talk to commands and families about being prepared,” said Guerin. “The nature of disasters that normally strike our area makes it all the more important that we take steps now to be prepared. Participation in Operation Prepare can help us achieve that.”
For more information on Operation Prepare, visit www.cnic.navy.mil