How to prepare for a disaster, before it strikes

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- If you have lived in the Central Valley for more than 30 years you likely remember the 1983 earthquake in Coalinga that leveled buildings and had people wheeled out on stretchers.

Though it was nearly four decades ago it has not been forgotten.

"Have you asked the question what if?"

That is why in a packed room at Woodward Park Library Monday, Fresno County District 2 Supervisor Andreas Borgeas hosted a community meeting to help residents prepare for similar emergency disasters.

"We've seen this happen in our backyard we've had the fires up north we've had the flooding because of the snowpack we've had active shooting scenarios in Fresno County"

Harrison Mills says recent shootings have been a concern for him.

"The one that was downtown what do I do if that happens in my business my place of work"

And he was not alone, others questioned how to prepare too.

"If there is a fire you do one thing if its a flood you do another thing if its a nuclear bomb who knows what you do."

A group of panelists from organizations like the office of emergency services, local fire and law enforcement agencies and the American Red Cross was present to answer those types of questions from residents.

Fresno County Sheriff, Margaret Mims said, "Run if you can, fight if you have to, hide if you must."

Despite the different scenarios officials say being ready is key.

"We all need to have our own plans we need to know what to do and we need to know how to respond."

That plan, according to the American Red Cross is knowing where to meet family members or coworkers, assigning responsibilities for each person and choosing an out of area emergency contact.

Suggestions that could save lives when disasters strike unexpectedly.

A few things the American Red Cross says you should pack for an emergency kit, one gallon of water per person for each day, a three day supply of non-perishable food and daily medications that you must take.

Also, the Fresno County Sheriff's Office wants to remind people to sign up for its emergency service system Everbridge which allows the department to send emails, texts, and voicemails to people in affected areas.
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