ABC Quick Guide for Emergency Preparation in Berkeley

By Stevanne Auerbach in cooperation with BDPNN with assistance of Pam Grossman.
Friday February 07, 2014 - 10:43:00 AM


Recently our neighbors gathered to hear Disaster Preparedness Trainer, Pam Grossman, a member of the Berkeley Disaster Preparedness Neighborhood Network (BDPNN). She presented essential information about how we can become prepared for the inevitable earthquake. We learned a great deal and began to mobilize. 

“Disasters do happen. The more preparation you can do ahead of time, the easier it will be when the disaster happens. Start by collecting or purchasing basic supplies (food, water, medication and sources of light and warmth) and put them in a safe, dry place outside your dwelling. Get to know your neighbors, and form a neighborhood group. Come to BDPNN’s quarterly meetings for more information about disaster related subjects. Look on the websites listed at the end of this article for more detailed steps you can take in getting ready.” BDPNN “The Network” 

The ABC Quick Guide for Emergency Preparation covers the most important points in an easy format, and includes helpful resources for more detailed information. 

Get Ready! 

We need to know how to cope in case of a sudden disaster. Being prepared in all important ways is the best way to protect our homes, families, possessions, and ourselves and recover from such a disaster. We need to be able to manage for up to ten days following a disaster, or longer until utilities and services are restored. 

So please be responsible, and be prepared. It will take some time, effort, and resources to gather the suggested essentials, but any time and effort spent now will be very worthwhile in case of an emergency. 

Being prepared can save your life, reduce stress, help you and others to be more comfortable despite any issues, and you will be better able to help others. 

Get Set! 

ABC EMERGENCY Preparation Includes Three Stages:

  1. Prepare Residence/Office – Includes reminders about cabinets, furniture, car, home electricity, gas and water shut-offs.
  2. Prepare Emergency Supplies – includes fire extinguishers, first aid supplies, flashlights, extra batteries, food, water, and other supplies. Buy a storage container to hold your emergency supplies, and store it in a safe location outside your dwelling.
  3. Prepare Ourselves-Family/Friends/Neighbors – take free CERT classes given by the Berkeley Fire Department.
BlanketsStore extra blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, tarps, and Mylar blankets. B 

CabinetsBe sure doors are well secured with latches. A 

CarStore several day’s emergency supplies in car. A 

Clothing Store comfortable clothes, gloves, hat, pair of shoes, and other essentials in large Zip-Lock type bags. B 

DocumentsOrganize copies of all important documents, secured in watertight storage files or put on a zip drive and give to someone out of the area for safekeeping. C 

ElectricityKnow how to turn off circuit breakers and the main power supply. A C 

FireFire extinguishers must be ABC type only. B 

First Aid Have sufficient supplies available in water-proof container. Include bandages, band aids, gauze pads, antiseptic, scissors, ace bandages, gloves, etc. Attend a CERT Disaster First Aid Training Class to learn essentials. B C 

FlashlightsGather a variety of flashlights, lanterns, extra batteries, and headlamps. C 

Food Store canned foods that do not require preparation. Include canned foods, drinks, freeze-dried camping food, plates, cups, utensils, opener and cooking pot. BBQs and/or camp stoves are useful. C 

FurnitureSecure bookcases, cabinets, and other objects from toppling over. “Hold down” straps can be purchased at hardware stores. A 

GasKnow how to turn off gas at the meter. Keep necessary wrench nearby. A C 

HomeCheck for structural integrity (termites), and secure chimney, roof, walls and foundation. A 

MedicineMedications needed for you, and your pet, should be stored in clearly marked container inside your dwelling because some medications are temperature sensitive. B 

Meeting PlaceDecide what you, your family, roommate and/or friend’s emergency arrangement will be. C 

MoneyHave $200-$300 in small bills as bank or ATM probably will not be functioning. B 

Neighbors Know your neighbors and encourage everyone to get prepared. Check on each other. Share a garage. Include generator, stretcher, and other supplies. C 

Objects Be sure any items that could fall down, break or be a hazard are secured. A 

Pets Store food and essential supplies. B 

Plan Include evacuation, where to meet, and emergency telephone numbers. C 

RadioObtain portable radio, extra batteries. B 

SanitationItems needed for makeshift toilet include kitty litter, plastic bag, and five gallon plastic bucket with locking toilet seat, sanitizer wipes, toilet paper, and chlorine bleach. B 

SleepingGet a tarp, tent, sleeping bags, towels, rain gear, and hat. B 

SkillsOrganize neighbors to assist each other, and elderly, disabled, and children. C 

SuppliesCheck on supplies, maintain and replace as needed. Include paper, pens, plastic sheeting to cover broken windows, stapler, duct tape, crow bar, whistle, garbage bags. B 

TelephoneArrange for contact outside of state for follow-up. Have both a cell phone number for text messages and a land-line number in case cell phones do not work. C 

ToolsGather garden hose, rope, shovel, broom, screwdrivers, hammers, pliers, wrench, plastic sheets, and/or tarps. B 

Water Have a minimum of one gallon (two is best) per person per day (plus pets). Obtain food grade water storage container, and fill it. Must be refreshed once a year. B 

WaterKnow how to turn off the home's water valves in case of leaks. Keep necessary wrench nearby. C 

Water HeaterBe certain the heater is bolted to a stud in the wall. A 

Windows Secure windows; have plywood available as needed. A 


  1. More Preparation!
  • Contact Pam Grossman Pam@grossmanfamily.com to schedule a Free Neighborhood Preparedness Meeting.
  • Consider taking free CERT classes given by the City of Berkeley, such as Disaster First Aid, Fire Suppression, Light Search and Rescue. (See more resources below)
  1. ABC EMERGENCY Quick Guide Resources
  1. Berkeley Disaster Preparedness Neighborhood Network (BDPNN) www.bdpnnetwork.org and www.bdpnnetwork.org/yahoo
    The Network offers speakers, training, assistance, meetings to share information, resources, and discounts for vendors. BDPNN founders were Norine Smith, Lynn Zummo and Charlotte Nolan. Norine and Lynn are current Board members plus Sandy Miarecki, David Peattie. Pam Grossman (Disaster Preparedness Trainer). BDPNN’s mission is “to assist Berkeley households and neighborhoods to respond effectively to disasters by further developing organizational skills, human and material resources, and responsiveness by sharing experiences, seeking expert advice, enhanced training and information sharing.” Over 100 neighborhood groups are involved. Offers DVD presentation, CD Start-up Kit on organizing neighborhood and more.
  2. Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). Free Classes given by Berkeley Fire Department. Call 510 981 5605 or go online to www.cityofberkeley.info/CERT for more information.
  3. A Checklist: Making a Family Plan for Emergencies by Nancy Overton. Detailed guide available from author - ostudios@earthlink.net ($15.00).
  4. Berkeley Fire Departmenthttp://www.cityofberkeley.info/CERT
  5. PGE – Pacific Gas and Electric http://www.pge.com/en/myhome/edusafety/naturaldisaster/earthquake/index.page
  6. Bay Area Red Crosswww.preparebayrea.org; http://cip.plsinfo.org/PDF/DisasterPrepClasses0807.pdf
  7. FEMAhttp://www.ready.gov/
  8. Fire Extinguishers Best Equipment Company, 3101 San Pablo Avenue, Berkeley (510-655-8882)
----ABC Quick Guide for Emergency Preparation in Berkeley was prepared by Stevanne Auerbach in cooperation with BDPNN with assistance of Pam Grossman.