PASADENA, Calif. – No one can predict when the next big disaster will be, but we can all be prepared.
Only 40 percent of Californians have made family disaster plans, according to the California Earthquake Preparedness Survey conducted by the University of California Los Angeles School of Public Health. Less than 20 percent have participated in neighborhood disaster planning.
Pasadena residents are working together to get prepared by participating in Map Your Neighborhood, a program that gets the entire block ready for a disaster.
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“It’s always hard to get people to understand how important this stuff is, said Perry Helm, a volunteer for the Pasadena Fire Department. “We could have a disaster at any point and time and a major earthquake. We’re due.”
Helm helps neighbors talk to each other about having a fire extinguisher, extra water, and a bag under the bed filled with clothes in case anything happens.
The fire department won’t be able to help everyone immediately during a disaster, so neighbors will need to rely on one another.
“The paramedics and everybody will just be stretched to the max. So what has to happen is neighbors have to help one another,” Helm said. “The map your neighborhood program the whole idea is you want to check on your neighbors within the first hour, it’s called the golden hour.”
Neighbors knock on doors and host community meetings to keep people prepared for the next big one.
Anyone can start the program in their neighborhood by contacting their local fire department. The Pasadena Fire Department also has classes available.