Disaster Prep: FAQs

What does my household need to do to be prepared for an emergency?

Start with the basics. Traditionally, the advice has been that you need to be self-sufficient for 3 days (72 hours). More recently (witness the Katrina experience), many authorities have extended this period to 7 days, and some even say 10 to 14 days! Generally speaking, the longer you can survive independently, the better. There are of course the practical limits of the cost and space required to store the larger quantities of supplies.

For specific information on preparing for various disasters, go to the EarthquakeFire and Flooding/Slides pages on this website, as well as the Additional Sources page.

To be even better prepared, get some training. For basic information, see http://readymarin.org/plan-prepare/. For more advanced training, take the Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) course offered by our local Office of Emergency Services/Fire Department (see the Training page).

What supplies should I have on hand in the event of a disaster?

There are a number of very good “starter” lists available, such as:
http://readymarin.org/plan-prepare/. See link to ReadyMarin checklist bundle.
Also, explore http://www.redcross.org/prepare/disaster.

You can supplement the core items with additional items of your choice. In addition, you should have an emergency kit with medical and other supplies. Check out the Earthquake Supply Center at 3095 Kerner Blvd. in San Rafael (459-5500).

How can I help to ensure that my family and neighbors help one another in the event of an emergency?

Find out what’s going on in your neighborhood – are there any people who are interested or have already started to get organized? If not, then start a group of your own! Get to know the people on your block, exchange contact information, learn the resources they may have to offer, and any special needs they may have. Find out who has CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) or medical training. You then have the beginnings of a block organization, and you may want to consider being an Emergency Preparedness Block Captain for your local Homeowners Association or group.

If I have special skills that may be useful in an emergency, who should I let know about my willingness to help?

Contact your local group, go to your local Homeowners Association website, and contact the Coalition’s Disaster Prep Committee. If there isn’t anything happening close enough to you, start your own group, and hook it up with the groups near you!

What has been put in place so far by the City of San Rafael?

The San Rafael Office of Emergency Services and the San Rafael Fire Department have been sponsoring the programs at GetReady Marin and conducting Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) courses (see Training) for the public for a number of years. The underlying message is that the public needs to become more aware and more prepared for disasters because the local relief resources are very limited.

Given that San Rafael has approximately 55,000 residents, how many San Rafael firefighters are on-duty at any given time?

Are you sitting down? OK, only 23! And, many of the “off-duty” firefighters do not live in the immediate area, which means they may not be able to quickly join the on-duty force in the event of a disaster that impedes transportation. The local Medical and Police forces have similar limitations, which means that in the event of a major disaster, residents will need to be self-reliant until outside resources can arrive.

Are there supplies stored in our area for an emergency?

Some limited equipment and supplies have been deployed within a few HOAs. However, most residents in the Coalition area do NOT have access to stored/staged equipment and supplies. The Coalition’s Disaster Preparedness Committee will address this issue and compile information after more neighborhoods and HOAs have effectively organized and coordination has been established between various neighborhoods, groups, and HOAs. In the meantime, it is even MORE important for individual families to have adequate emergency supplies to be safe and self-sufficient for a week or longer.

What if Pt. San Pedro Road is cut by flood, fire, or earthquake? What if highway 101 is cut off?

Then relief will be slow to get to us. Boats could be used to reach us, depending on the condition of the local marinas and fleet. There is the potential to use aircraft (helicopters) for relief, but this resource will likely be stretched very thin. Locally, helicopters could potentially land in the Loch Lomond Marina parking lot and the Glenwood and San Pedro Elementary school yards. However, these transportation resources will be reserved for critical emergency and medical needs.

Additional “Get Ready” FAQ’s can be found at:  http://readymarin.org/frequently-asked-questions/