By Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Supervisor 5th District
In addition to serving as your Orange County Supervisor, and current vice chair of the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I also have the privilege of serving on 18 other county boards, committees and commissions, including the Orange County Fire Authority Board of Directors.
September was National Preparedness Month, and as we enter high-risk wildfire season in the midst of our record drought, it is extremely important that we prepare our families, homes and businesses now for the event of a natural disaster or major emergency.
This year, we have already experienced a rash of wildfires and even a recent tsunami advisory. We can also expect the inevitable red flag conditions associated with Santa Ana winds, high heat and low humidity, increasing the risk of wildfire exponentially. And with the El Niño weather conditions that are also anticipated, which could produce devastating flooding and landslides, we must take action now to protect against potential loss of life and property.
Many residents have built their homes and landscaped without fully understanding the impact that could result from wildfire. There may not be a lot of time to figure out who is home, what to take, where or when to go. Disaster can force you to evacuate your neighborhood or confine you to your home. Roads, water, gas, electricity and telephone service may be cut off.
If a disastrous event overwhelms or delays your community’s first responders, are you prepared to go it alone for at least 72 hours? Firefighters train hard to prepare for wildfires and other disasters. Residents need to do the same. Take personal responsibility and learn what you can do today.
As your Orange County Supervisor, your safety is among my highest priorities. To that end, I’m pleased to announce I will be hosting the 2015 South County Disaster Preparedness Expo in partnership with the city of Mission Viejo and the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.
This enormously popular, eighth annual event will be held Saturday, Oct. 17 from 9 a.m. to noon, in the Village Green at the Norman P. Murray Community Center, 24932 Veterans Way, in Mission Viejo. Attended by thousands of South County residents, the Disaster Preparedness Expo is a free event and open to the public.
With the participation of the Orange County Fire Authority and Orange County Sheriff’s Department, the Disaster Preparedness Expo will feature the largest array of state-of-the-art disaster preparedness and emergency response vehicles and equipment demonstrations in Orange County, all in one location.
As always, the expo will provide valuable information from a host of agencies and organizations to residents and businesses on how to be prepared before, during and after a major emergency or natural disaster. The event will also feature an earthquake simulator, interactive booths, food, music and fun for all ages, free giveaways, in addition to a wealth of practical advice on preparing your family, home and business.
As we’ve learned all too well, wildfires, floods, earthquakes and tsunamis are ever present threats in Southern California. We can’t predict when the next disaster will strike, but we can certainly be prepared. As such, I urge you to attend the 2015 South County Disaster Preparedness Expo.
Public mass notification systems have also become a critical component of emergency preparation and response. To that end, AlertOC is Orange County’s regional public mass notification system designed to keep those who live or work in Orange County informed of important information during emergency events.
The AlertOC system is sponsored and led by the County of Orange in partnership with many Orange County cities. I encourage everyone to register their cell phones, text devices and email addresses at www.alertoc.com. You can also receive and manage AlertOC notifications on an iOS or Android device.
Get Prepared. Learn How!
For more information about the South County Disaster Preparedness Expo, please contact my office at 714.834.3550. For more information on how to be better prepared in the event of a disaster or major emergency, please visit www.ocfa.org.
See you at the South County Disaster Preparedness Expo.