Are You Ready for the “Big One”? Stop, Look and Read This

Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | 8:41 pm

Every now and then, rumors circulate that the “Big One” is coming. But no one has a crystal ball. Earthquakes are notoriously hard to predict, so the best defense is to be prepared.

Lisa Derderian the Program Coordinator for Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program at the Pasadena Fire Department explains that this week’s “Great Shakeout” event Thursday makes now the perfect time to start thinking about earthquake safety.

“If I had to pick one item that people stock up on, it’s water,” Derderian said. In addition to water, Derderian suggests each family have an adequate supply of food, medicine, a battery operated radio, a flashlight and a first aid kit. “Keep a pair of sturdy shoes next to your bed with a flashlight in one shoe and a pair of gloves [to remove debris] in the other,” she said.

While many places sell earthquake and disaster preparedness kits, it’s a good idea to personalize your own. Here are a few of Derderian suggestions:

- small denominations of cash
- maxi pads (to absorb blood from large cuts)
- a flashlight or solar powered lamp, not candles
- trash bags (for sanitation)
- a crowbar (in case doors jamb)
- a disposable camera (to document damage)
- battery or solar operated cell phone charger

“Don’t forget your pets,” she adds. Most cats hide during disasters while most dogs run. No matter which pet you have, it’s important to have them microchipped so you can track them down. Derderian also suggests having an animal carrier on hand in case you need to transport your pet to a shelter.

In an emergency situation it may be necessary to provide proof of identity, Derderian suggests putting your vital information on a password-protected flash drive and storing it with a friend outside L.A County. She also suggests storing and backing up all vital information on the cloud or at an alternate location.

“The earthquake is the one disaster that we don’t see coming. It’s a fear of the unknown so we really need people to think about it now,” Derderian said.

This Thursday is the great Shakeout at 10:15 a.m., Drop, Cover and Hold On for one minute to promote earthquake awareness and get ready for the “Big One.”

For more preparedness resources, visit

The Pasadena Fire Department also offers free disaster prepaprendness and CPR and CERT training visit for more infomration or contact Lisa Derderian at or by calling (626) 744-7276.


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