How to prepare for disasters in California

A tree was struck by lightning Monday evening. While the fire caused wasn’t large, teachers communicated to each other to call the fire department, while others sent students inside. In light of recent events, here are some tips for preparing for natural emergencies:

For lightning storms (Tips from the NOAA)

While students could hear the thunder and lightning, some were still outside admiring the unbelievable event (given it had been fairly warm that whole morning and afternoon). It’s important to follow some steps to ensure you are safe during a lightning storm.

Don’t go into an open area. Run to a building or into a hard-topped vehicle as soon as you can.

Stay inside in a lightning storm as much as possible.

Stay away from anything that is a conductor (remember freshman physics). Anything that’s metal, like wires or fences, increases the chances of lightning traveling through it, so anything that it’s touching will be affected.

Stay away from anything tall. Trees are more likely to be struck as lightning usually doesn’t go all the way down to the ground. Towers and utility poles are also to be avoided.


Power outages (According to FEMA)

Hours after lightning struck, a power outage happened a few miles away from the upper school campus affecting students living in the Santana Row area.

Always have a flashlight, batteries, money and first aid supplies on hand. If a flashlight isn’t available or dead with no batteries, you can try to find a candle.

If you don’t already, make sure you have a fully charged portable charger always on hand. This is good for any emergency, especially when you have a dead phone when you are alone.


For earthquakes (According to CDC)

For the people who have lived in California and participated in Harker’s earthquake drills, they know the four words: drop, cover and hold on, which is short for: drop down to the floor, cover your head and neck and hold on to a shelter. However, there are still many other procedures to implement for before and after earthquakes.

To be prepared for an earthquake at home, you and your family should make an evacuation plan. Find out at least two fastest ways to exit the building through each room. Place ladders, ropes, or climbing equipment on floors, two or higher, to assist in escaping higher levels.

A larger emergency kit is useful for each household. Include bottled water, nonperishable food (nutrition bars, granola etc.), antibiotics pills and ointment, painkillers, band-aids, alcohol wipes, blankets, extra clothes and shoes, money (cash and coins), flashlight, batteries, compact mirror for signaling, tissue paper, compass and duct tape. In a waterproof folder, insert emergency telephone numbers, insurance numbers, birth certificates, social security numbers.

After an earthquake, if bottled water runs out, safe water sources are melted ice cubes, water from toilet tanks (not the bowls!), and canned fruit and food liquids. Swimming pool and spa water can be used for cleansing, not consuming. Do not use water from radiators, water beds and water boilers of the home heating system.