Opinion: Hurricanes, Earthquakes Demonstrate Importance of Disaster Preparedness

Florida Gov. Rick Scott talks to reporters after viewing damage from Hurricane Irma. Courtesy of the governor’s office

By Stephanie Brown

In little more than a month, we’ve witnessed the massive destruction of Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricanes Irma and Maria throughout the Caribbean and in Florida. At the same time, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake and another 7.1, struck the southern-most region of Mexico, killing 337 people.

Millions of people have suffered the consequences of these natural disasters, losing loved ones, homes and jobs. The cost of recovery will certainly exceed hundreds of billions of dollars, and take years of rebuilding. All of this devastation in the span of just a matter of weeks.

If one could find a source of inspiration in these tragedies, it is in the universal display of humanity toward helping victims survive and providing spiritual, physical, and financial assistance. We do take care of each other, and our compassion is extraordinary. We give a special thanks to all of the men and women in uniform serving our country to protect those in need and lead them toward safety.

These natural disasters remind us of the need to remain alert and prepared. In San Diego we have experienced devastating wild fires, power outages, mud slides and flooding. According to an article in the San Diego Union Tribune, based on a study sponsored by the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute, San Diego’s Rose Canyon fault is capable of producing a magnitude 6.9 earthquake that could kill 2,000 people and inflict $40 billion in property damage. These studies are not publicized to frighten us, but to remind us that we are all vulnerable. This is true for individuals, families, businesses and communities, and one of the top reasons why we should all be prepared.

At Manchester Financial Group, we are taking every precaution to ensure that all of our commercial buildings and tenants are safe and secure. We are implementing weekly communications and updates with our tenants throughout the month of September on how to be prepared in the event of a natural disaster, and have implemented quarterly emergency planning, training, seminars, drills, and education. As a part of the American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties’ Business Leadership Council, we are working to ensure that all tenants within the Manchester properties are safe and secure.

Dick Gibbons, president and CEO of Manchester Financial Group, noted, “The people who make up the workforce today are our greatest assets. Our most important leadership role at Manchester Financial Group is to ensure that all individuals within the Manchester family, including our tenants and their employees, are safe, equipped and ready in the event of a disaster. This not only serves the lives of our personnel and their families, but also protects the greater good of the San Diego region.”

Natural disasters have been with us since the beginning of time, yet in the last few decades they seem to incur more frequently with greater intensity. I believe that global warming is real. The more we pollute earth and fill it with toxins, the more we destroy the quality of the air, the food we eat, the water we drink and the overall quality of life for generations to come. When we choose to pollute, we harm our environment and ourselves. We create a world where disease thrives and decay increasingly becomes the norm. We can engage in conversation about whether global warming is occurring as a natural progression of our weather patterns or is exacerbated by man. In the end, the discussion is irrelevant. Mother Nature has her own agenda, and mankind is merely a guest on the planet.

With that being said, we must do our part to act now and make a difference in the world. Every act matters. We must be green. We must be energy efficient. We must preserve the integrity of our air, the quality of our land and our waters. We must not pollute, or waste, or destroy all that is natural, raw, beautiful and real. Most importantly, we must remain vigilant and prepared. As we evaluate our own vulnerability, let’s heed the advice of Charlene Zettel, interim regional CEO of American Red Cross of San Diego/Imperial Counties.

“It’s critical to be able to take care of yourself, your family and your pets for the first 72 hours of a disaster,” said Zettel. “That could be how long it takes for first responders to get to you should a major disaster hit our region.” Zettel says if you have to choose a single emergency preparation step, it’s this: Make a plan with your family about what to do in case of a disaster.

Being prepared means having the right supplies when a disaster strikes. The Red Cross advises that you should have the following in your emergency preparation kit:

• Water: one gallon per person, per day (3-day supply if you are evacuated, 2-week supply for your home)
• Food: non-perishable, easy-to-prepare items (3-day supply if you are evacuated, 2-week supply for home)
• Flashlight
• Battery-powered or hand-crank radio
• Extra batteries
• First-aid kit
• Medications (7-day supply) and medical items
• Multi-purpose tool
• Sanitation and personal hygiene items
• Copies of personal documents (medication list and pertinent medical information, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance
• Cell phones with chargers
• Family and emergency contact information
• Extra cash
• Emergency blanket
• Map(s) of the area

We at Manchester Financial Group strive to be responsible and responsive corporate citizens. In addition, each member of our team is dedicated to keeping our families and communities safe and healthy beyond the buildings we create and operate.

Article from the Times of San Diego