This is the eighth article in a series which will help you prepare for a major emergency, such as an earthquake.
Please remember that the various public agencies will be extremely busy in a disaster.
You must be prepared to be on your own for a minimum of 72 hours.
After a disaster, if by some small chance a fire truck gets into your neighborhood, fire fighting efforts may be hampered by broken water lines.
Are you willing to gamble with these odds? What are your alternatives?
If you wish to depend solely upon unbroken water pipes and your water hose, make sure you keep one hose attached to a water pipe and that it is long enough to reach the entire length of your house.
To increase the water pressure, have a nozzle available at the faucet or already attached to the hose.
The best alternative is to have one or more fire extinguishers in good working order strategically positioned throughout your house.
It is better to have several smaller extinguishers distributed throughout the house (kitchen, garage, bedroom, etc.) than to have one large extinguisher that is hard to get to quickly.
Be sure to purchase approved 2-A:10-B:C or larger size extinguishers.
This type of extinguisher can handle all types of fires, if the fire has not yet reached catastrophic proportions.
This type of extinguisher is designed to fight three types of fires:
"A" is for ordinary fires such as wood, paper, materials, and other combustibles;
"B" is for materials such as grease, gasoline, oil, and other flammable liquids which water will only spread;
"C" is for live electrical equipment and appliances.
Your task this time is to purchase new fire extinguishers if you don't already have them.
In the next couple of articles we will discuss how to mount your new extinguisher, when and how to check them, how to operate them, and other fire extinguisher topics.
If you have any questions, please refer to page 16 of your copy of the Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Manual for more information, or leave a message for the Los Altos Emergency Preparedness Committee's volunteer on the Los Altos City voice mail system (948-1491, ext. 488).
A committee volunteer will get in contact with you to answer your questions.
Note: April 1-6 is Government and Emergency Services Preparedness Week. The primary goal behind the statewide kick-off event is to position April as California Earthquake Preparedness Month. For more information, check out the Office of Emergency Services Web site at: http://www.oes.ca.gov:8001