We in La Cañada Flintridge are all too aware of the need to be prepared for many kinds of emergencies. Earthquakes, wildfires and electrical outages have all been a part of the La Cañada Flintridge experience since my family moved here 29 years ago. There are more resources available than ever to assist families in being prepared and there is no time like the present to explore them.

Two recent events, in particular, were focused on preparedness. September was National Preparedness Month, an annual campaign to encourage all of us to take steps to prepare for emergencies. The website www.ready.gov has many tips for preparing. September was the month for recognizing national preparedness, but being prepared is a year-round effort. The website outlines three steps, be informed, make a plan and build a kit. There are lists of things everyone should consider having in their home from food and water, extra batteries and medication. In addition to preparing your own household, interested people can also join the National Preparedness Coalition, an online forum organized to improve our preparedness on a larger level.

The second was the Great California Shakeout that was held on Oct.18. This was another opportunity to review your own plan and spend time with your family talking about what to do when the shaking begins. The website www.shakeout.org has many resources for all of us, including special illustrated sections for those with disabilities of one kind or another. I encourage everyone to take a few minutes and review the information available.

Watching the events unfolding around the landing of Hurricane Sandy have lent even more urgency to the need for preparation. Store shelves were empty and people either had to evacuate to higher ground or shelter in place in their homes. Earthquakes happen suddenly without much warning. How would you and your family survive? Could you manage for three to five days without outside help?

I have often thought that a more appropriate name for the Public Safety Commission is the Public Safety and Awareness Commission. It is a cliché that we all know and understand: Emergencies and disasters happen, we just don’t know when. Take the time to prepare. Be informed, make a plan, build a kit, do it now.

Kay Linden
La Cañada Flintridge

Editor’s note: The writer is a member of the La Cañada Flintridge Public Safety Commission.