Ask The Expert: Helping Your Family Plan for a Disaster

Sharon Carlson, RN, is Sharp HealthCare's director of disaster preparedness.

How can I help my family — especially older parents, friends or neighbors — prepare for a disaster?
Consider joining your neighborhood community emergency response team (CERT). The CERT program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area, and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations.

Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help.

How Do I Join?

CERT San Diego gives you all the details.

What important papers and information should I have ready in case there is a disaster?

I recommend keeping important documents such as banking information, loan documents, wills and advance directives in a box that can be easily picked up and taken with you in case of evacuation. If you are or have an elderly or disabled family member or friend, I recommend including a Vial of Life.

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