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What Mountain View Can Learn from 'Frankenstorm' Sandy

Is it crazy to overreact? Or better to be paranoid about preparedness?

Between catching up on YouTube webisodes and preparing for Monday morning in Mountain View (and Patchland), I kept updated on Hurricane Sandy, a.k.a. Frankenstorm, which is about to pound the East Coast.

I called my mom to make sure she had gotten home before the subway closed (she always has enough water and food); reminded my brother to accomodate for his dog's needs and suggested to friends to park their cars in garages—plus load up on batteries, non-perishable foods and bring in patio furniture.

On Facebook one friend complained about the automated emergency alert robocall she got: "My phone just screamed at me! WARNING evacuation alert. Wtf."

Other friends likened emergency preparations to "wars and holidays" because the hype pushes people to spend money: "natural disasters...are such a business."

You know what I think Mountain View?

I wish we could prepare days in advance for an earthquake, like those on the East Coast can prepare for storms.

Wait. News Flash! WE CAN!

The City of Mountain View has a robust and dedicated Office of Emergency Preparedness, which over the course of four weeks several times a year offers a free Community Emergency Preparedness Team (CERT) program. (This editor is a proud CERT grad!)

Of course, CERT gives participants invaluable checklists for items to purchase and things to do in case of a disaster—but it also trains people on fire safety, on search and rescue techniques, and how to render basic first aid.

Why is CERT important?

Mountain View has a great Fire Department (feel free to accuse me of being a biased and impartial reporter here) and we are blessed to have the Moffett Field Air Field and the 129th Rescue Wing right next door.

But in a disaster those amazing resources will be out handling even major emergencies—like really big fires or extreme rescue situations (think collapsed buildings; hikers stuck on a mountain after a rockslide; or capsized boats because of a tsunami).

CERT empowers the community by preparing us before an emergency because we might be cut off from help for awhile.

So what can we learn about Frankenstorm Sandy? It's not a joke to be paranoid about preparedness. Safety should be first; cynicism second.

 

Do you think that people and local governments in the East Coast are overreacting? Are you a CERT member? Are you prepared? Share your opinion in the comment section below!

 

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Claudia Cruz October 29, 2012 at 04:57 PM
Thanks Ellen. My attention is split today for sure between Sandy and the Giants. I'm not worry about the immediate safety of my family, but am concerned about the power outages and how long-term they might be because of the vast scope of the storm. Again, CERT teams would have prepared for this with extra foods, blankets maybe even generators. The Cuesta Park team, I believe, is the model in Mountain View. I love in Castro City area and I don't think we have something established yet.
Claudia Cruz October 29, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Mark, seriously, right! The East Coast has had more things happen there in the two years I've been here! Again, the only difference is that our major event (earthquake) will be unpredictable and as such could cause more damage and injury. Very scary to think about.
juan aranda October 29, 2012 at 08:21 PM
Being that you are from the Caribbean, you should be very familiar with this type of weather, Claudia. As you know, am from Puerto Rico, and I have been in the island, through various tropical storms, and a pair of Hurricanes. As a matter of fact back in 1956 in Hurricane Santa Clara (how ironic that now I live in Santa Clara County). These are powerful NATURE expressions, and you should heed with care. Enough candles, with matches, lantern(s).. warm clothing, food (sardines, salmon, sausages and any type of canned meat along with a CAN OPENER); portable radio with batteries, and WATER!!! Follow instructions and do not take this lightly. If you are asked to evacuate take it as an order, and do not wait until the water is lapping at your feet. I've been there, chest deep in water. its freezing with lots of bugs floating on top, and heavy current. Listen.. DO NOT TAKE IT LIGHTLY. your loved ones lives are at stake.
juan aranda October 29, 2012 at 08:24 PM
And /claudia, this is the main reason why I appreciate the Patch, under your guidance here in Mountain View. This comments are precious for those who have not been exposed to this type of weather. The NEWS in Mountain View have improved so much since you re settled here. You are from NY just like I lived there for a while, and the change is a culture shock, but I personally thank you for your decision of choosing Mountain View.
Claudia Cruz October 29, 2012 at 08:46 PM
Oh, thank you Juan! I've been keen on natural disasters not just because of my Caribbean roots, but my father's house was damage during the devastation of Hurricane Andrew. Then of course, the man-made 9/11 made me again aware of our vulnerability as humans. I'm mentally preparing myself too, because an earthquake in CA will be my first ever.

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