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By Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Supervisor 5th District

It’s evident from recent natural disasters, such as the hurricanes that slammed our southern states, fires in the northwest, and the earthquake in Mexico, that being prepared in case of an emergency is something we should all be proactive about.

We can all agree Orange County is a wonderful place to live, work and play, but the beauty of our area can easily distract us from the reality that a disaster can arise at a moment’s notice. While we are blessed to live in one of the greatest regions of the world, Southern California is susceptible to some of the most damaging natural disasters, including: fires, earthquakes, storms, flooding and even tsunamis.

We all know how devastating these disasters can be, but I’ll bet that few of us have done much to ensure we’re prepared should a major emergency occur. You don’t need to be a doomsday prepper with stockpiles of food in an underground bunker like you see on TV, but there are certainly simple steps we can take to be ready. It’s as easy as counting to three: get a kit, make a plan, and be informed.

Get a Kit

The first step you can take is to assemble an emergency kit for your home, work and car. You never know when a disaster will strike, so it’s crucial you are prepared regardless of where you are. Acquiring an emergency kit can be as easy as purchasing a prepackaged kit online, or as interactive as making a family game to compile important supplies into an old school backpack. Please note that when getting supplies together, its best to think about the basics for survival, including water, food, a first aid kit and other necessities. For a full list of supplies to include in a kit and other useful tips, visit

Make a Plan

Once you’ve created an emergency kit, it’s essential your family makes a plan. Right now you can ask yourself: If there was a major earthquake, how will I get in touch with my family? How will I get home? These sound like simple questions, but in a disaster or emergency, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the moment and not be able to think clearly, so sitting down with your loved ones to make a plan is very important. Again, visit and use their guide to make a comprehensive plan.

Be Informed

In times of emergency, information is crucial. Luckily in Orange County we have Alert OC, which is a mass notification system that keeps residents informed of emergencies and other important events. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly encourage you and your family to sign up for Alert OC at today.

Lastly, I invite you to join me at the 10th annual South County Disaster Preparedness Expo. This will be my third year hosting this popular family event with the city of Mission Viejo, which takes place Saturday, Oct. 21, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Norman Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way.

The Expo features a wide array of state-of-the-art emergency response vehicles and equipment displays, informative presentations and demonstrations, an earthquake simulator, interactive vendor booths, disaster preparedness kits, fun activities for all ages, free giveaways, great food, music and entertainment, and much more.

So mark your calendars for Oct. 21, and I’ll look forward to seeing you at the South County Disaster Preparedness Expo.

Supervisor Lisa Bartlett represents the 5th District on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which includes the cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, (portions of) Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano.


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