Although it's unlikely a landlocked city like Carson would fall victim to a flood the magnitude of what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans, this region has weather hazards of its own, and residents would benefit from being prepared, said Fire Chief Stacey Giomi.
"The biggest natural threats to us are severe weather events, earthquakes, wildfires and flooding. We realize in a major disaster, the amount of problems are going to outweigh the resources we have here, so people need to be able to take care of themselves," he said.
Classes being offered by the Carson City Fire Department are tailored to do just that: give residents knowledge to survive in a disaster and help those around them.
Giomi said the department has recently reinstated CPR and first-aid courses. TEEN School Emergency Response Training focuses on preparedness in the schools. And on Thursday, 30 people will take part in Community Emergency Response Team training. The purpose of the course is to teach basic response skills then integrate students into the emergency-response capability for their area.
"In a disaster, we'll be working on building collapses and rescuing people," Giomi said. "This allows people to be involved in their own survival and that of their neighbors."
Giomi and Community Education Coordinator Tom Tarulli also suggest every home have a 72-hour emergency kit at the ready, in case an event is so large that emergency responders are overwhelmed or delayed - a fact that was evident following the Gulf Coast hurricane when thousands of people were without basic necessities to survive until help arrived.
"How many wake-up calls do we need? At some point you have to say 'I'm surrounded, I have to do something," Tarulli said.
Kits can be purchased at Costco for $14.95, said Giomi. They usually contain a three-day supply of food and water for one person, a blanket and some first-aid material.
Kits can also be purchased online. Tarulli suggests people do an Internet search for "survival kit."
Or, Giomi said, you can make a kit up from items at home. Just remember to put it in a cool dry place that's easily accessible.
Preparedness is the key, he said.
"Part of our job is to educate our people to be able to take care of themselves so when that once-in-a-lifetime disaster takes place, they'll be ready."
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• Keep extra prescriptions drugs, a flashlight with batteries, a radio, batteries, candles, matches, trash bags, hygiene products, money
• Put together a small first-aid kit including bandages, wraps, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, etc.
• Use canned foods for easy storage and long shelf life. Choose ready-to-eat canned meat, fruits and vegetables. Keep food fresh by checking dates and replacing it every year. Pack a manual can opener, cooking and eating utensils and basic food seasonings.
• Store a three-day supply of water for each family member - usually a gallon per person per day. Write the date on the water containers and replace them every six months.
• Purify water by boiling it for 10 minutes or by adding drops of household bleach containing 5.25 percent hypochlorite. The Federal Emergency Management Administration recommends 16 drops of bleach per gallon. Water purification tablets or a filter system such as those designed for campers and backpackers are also available.
• Store canned and dry pet food along with an extra collar and leash. Pets are not allowed in most shelters. If evacuated, you may have to leave them behind with the extra food.
• Keep an extra set of clothing for all people in your household. Include clothing for each season.
• Store a screwdriver, knife, etc. (Combination tools work well for this purpose).
• Choose a location for your kit, such as a closet or "safety corner" in the garage where it is cool and dark, under the bed, under stairways or in your crawl space.
For information on survival courses offered by the Carson City Fire Department, call 887-2210.