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Local preparedness experts offer tips, training after Japan quake

Submitted by on 1, March 16, 2011 – 2:05 pmOne Comment

Neal Jarecki and his wife, Heather, and children Ryan and Laura are ready for the next disaster. Contributed photo.

Local preparedness experts are offering tips and training the wake of a deadly quake and tsunami that killed thousands of people in Japan last week.

“You look at those pictures in Japan and think about how long it’s going to be before any of those folks will have emergency care. The images of folks queuing up with empty buckets for something basic like water is difficult to take,” said Neal Jarecki, assistant scoutmaster and advancement chair of Alameda’s Boy Scout Troop 73.

The tsunami that hit California’s shores had little impact on Alameda, but Jarecki said that with Alameda’s access issues, low-lying areas and liquefaction potential, a future disaster could.

“The reality for most folks is that we are a few feet from sea level,” he said.

Jarecki said 15 to 18 of the troop’s scouts have completed Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training, which will enable them to help out when disaster strikes. The troop also offers disaster preparedness presentations for neighborhood and other groups, and it has meals ready to eat (MREs) for sale.

Jarecki, who took the CERT training along with his wife, Heather, and three of his children, said the scouts recommend that families make a plan detailing how they will handle a disaster and that they put together an emergency kit with food, water, a flashlight, batteries, a whistle and a wrench for shutting off your home’s gas valve if necessary. He said San Francisco’s 72hours.org is a good source of information for creating a disaster plan.

The MREs, which the troop sells as a fundraiser, are $75 a case, and the 12 meals are designed to be enough to last an adult a week. Jarecki said the meals have a five- to 10-year shelf life depending on storage temperature. (“One retired U.S. Navy officer said that these are better than any MREs he ever ate while on active duty,” Jarecki said.)

To purchase the meals or sign up for a preparedness presentation, contact Assistant Scoutmaster Chris Freck at Troop73MREs@aol.com.

The Alameda Fire Department is also preparing to offer its next round of CERT training. The next six-week class cycle begins on April 12.

The classes, which include personal preparedness, disaster medical, fire suppression and other lessons, are free and available to adults and youths ages 14-17 who are accompanied by an adult.

More information on the training is available on the Alameda Fire Department’s website or by calling 337-2127. Registration forms, which are required for the training, can be returned to the Alameda Fire Department at 1300 Park Street.

One Comment »

  • Terry Winckler says:

    Thanks, Michele, for getting the word out on how Alameda residents can prepare for the “big one” before something catastrophic visits the isle. We are uniquely vulnerable to earthquake, flood and fire, and it’s good to be ready to take on whatever comes our way.

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