Disaster: Is Arizona Prepared?

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Preparedness (Conclusion)

As we learned from Hurricane Katrina, depending on government to help you in time of disaster could prove to be deadly. What can you do to personally prepare for disaster? Cathy Tisdale of the American Red Cross will join us to tell you how to get your family ready in case of calamity.

>> Michael Grant: Tonight on "Horizon," how can you be personally prepared for a disaster? We'll give you some tips. Relief efforts continue to help the victims of the Pakistani earthquake. We'll hear about local relief efforts. Plus, seniors are major targets of I.D. thieves. One local event is helping to fight that in a big way. More on those issues next on "Horizon."

>> Reporter: "Horizon" is made possible by the friends of Channel 8, members who provide financial support to this Arizona PBS station. Thank you!

>> Michael Grant: Good evening. Welcome to "Horizon." I'm Michael Grant. After Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, help was slow to come for those who were still there. Being personally prepared could have saved lives. Just how do you get ready for the unexpected? All this week we have been looking at potential disasters in our state and how we're preparing. Tonight Mike Sauceda tells us about emergency kits sold by the Red Cross.

>> Mike Sauceda: One less unobvious from hurricane Katrina, the cavalry is not going to ride in immediately to save you.

>> Carol Gibbs: I think that we all need to take responsibility for our own safety, and the Red Cross actually came one five actions for emergency preparedness, and we felt that if we kept it really simple, make a plan, build a kit, get trained, volunteer and give blood, the easier you kept it, the more people that would follow it. We actually did a survey and of the survey, only about a fifth of the people surveyed were prepared for an emergency. So not a lot of people really think, as you say, that it's their responsibility.

>> Mike Sauceda: All those points are covered in the Red Cross' five-point personal preparedness plan. Have a plan, build a kit, get trained, volunteer and give blood. Carol Gibbs is a preparedness and safety solutions specialist for the Grand Canyon chapter of the American Red Cross. She explains what it means to have a plan.

>> Carol Gibbs: Having a plan, whether if you're at home or a business, you identify the emergencies could that happen, you rate the probabilities. Here in Arizona I think we've gotten a little lazy because we don't -- we haven't had hurricanes. We haven't had a tsunami. However, if you look back over our history of our state, every natural disaster except a tsunami has actually happened over our state's history.

>> Mike Sauceda: Most people think of having supplies when it comes to being prepared. The Red Cross sells several preparedness kits starting with the basic CPR kit. After appear starter survival kit which gives one person a one-day supply of food and water starts at $20.

>> Carol Gibbs: This kit has in it some things that you will need in an emergency. This is a good kit for the back of your car, just to have in your laundry room, your garage, at your desk at work. Has a light stick, small flashlight, batteries are inside, as well as a food bar, and there are actually -- there's enough food for one day in this particular little pack. We also have just a small supply of first aid supplies. And then a rescue blanket, and these are important for not only to keep you warm but Fish & Wildlife Service a victim goes into shock. There's also some gloves, once again for universal precautions, as well as a dust mask. We also have in the bag some water packets and they're ready to use. You just open it up, two bags per person per day is what's recommended.

>> Mike Sauceda: You can get a bigger kit for more than one person or to last longer for one person but they all build on the basic kit. The next kit up the line costs $35 and will keep one person in supplies for three days.

>> Carol Gibbs: Next kit up is a little larger. It's still a one-person, three-day kit. This kit has a little more room, so we have a few -- room for some personal items that you may need along with your medication and along with -- it also has your food rations for three days, one person, three days. As well as a -- your batteries for your flashlight, little larger, so you have a little longer lasting flashlight in this kit, your emergency blanket is in here as well.

>> Mike Sauceda: A lot of the same things --

>> Carol Gibbs: A lot of the small same things. A little larger first aid kit and supply. Some gloves. And some duct tape is in along with the whistle, flashlight, light stick. So you have many of the same items that we've compared but it's -- a few more, some larger sizes.

>> Mike Sauceda: There's a family kit for just under $70.

>> Carol Gibbs: And you'll add a few other additional items to the larger bag, maybe a larger first aid kit along with a tarp. You can have, of course, here's your duct tape, you can have your personal items, maybe some wash cloths. Of course, your pills, any medication that you take. You may also have some extra clothing, maybe an extra sweat suit or something. So the idea is to start in building your kit, getting the items together that are required or that you think you may need and then have them all in one place.

>> Mike Sauceda: The Red Cross sells other larger kits and all are available online at WWW.arizonaredcross.ORG.

>> Michael Grant: I talked more about being prepared for a disaster with Cathy Tisdale. She is the CEO of the Grand Canyon Chapter of the American Red Cross. Here is that interview. Cathy, we just saw that background piece on the survival kits. Are those a popular item?

>> Cathy Tisdale: They are becoming more popular as people get to know about them and as they start to see kind of their practical use both at the workplace and at home. But we'd like to sell more. We'd like more families to take that step to be prepared.

>> Michael Grant: You know, we polled Arizonans on well they thought they were prepared for a disaster, and 70% thought that they were either very well prepared or somewhat prepared. I don't know that I'm believing that response. Is that consistent with Red Cross data?

>> Cathy Tisdale: Actually, when we do our polling, we do random sampling nationwide among families, and we ask another level of detail. We ask parents if they know what the evacuation plan is for the school where their children go and consistently only about 27 to 30% of parents say they know what that plan is. We also ask people who are employed outside the home if they believe their employer is prepared or if their workplace is prepared, and usually it's between 35 and 40% of the folks we survey know what the plan is at work. So maybe at a very general family level, maybe we think we're prepared, but when we start really getting into it, we find out people don't know what they need to know.

>> Michael Grant: Well, the Red Cross has got, as we say in the business, a plan, a preparedness plan, and it's got five different points to it. Let's talk about them. First point is to make a plan.

>> Cathy Tisdale: There's two parts to the plan, and it's both for a plan with your family as well as a plan where you work. With your family you want to know how to do two things. If you had to escape your home quickly, how would you do that? What route would you take and where would you go? The second part of that plan is an emergency communications plan. One of the lessons learned out of 9/11 is that if everybody gets on their cell phone at the same time and they try to call across town to the spouse or the kids or the other family members, nobody's cell phone works because everybody is in essence trying to call through the same satellite. So what we talk about is how to build an emergency communication plan where your central point of contact is actually a friend or family member outside of the area where you live. So we talk about that in some detail.

>> Michael Grant: So, in other words, line up Aunt Mabel in, illustratively, Albuquerque or something and the plan is, okay, let Aunt Mabel know if you're safe, where you are and those kind of things.

>> Cathy Tisdale: Everybody calls Aunt Mabel and as a family member calls in, Aunt Mabel let's everybody know who has checked in, and ultimately, Aunt Mabel knows everybody is safe. Then the plan for your workplace can happen in one of two ways, depending on the nature of the workplace. One is, if you had to evacuate, where would you go and how would you do it? The second is, suppose you couldn't leave, either because of the nature of the work, the company does, or simply because you're told by law enforcement that you can't leave. It's called a lockout or shelter in. And every company of every size needs to have a plan for both.

>> Michael Grant: What's your experience? Do we have plans, business and home, or not?

>> Cathy Tisdale: It's interesting. If you ask employers if they have a business continuity plan, they will say yes, and they can pull it out. If you say to those same employers, what is your plan for sheltering in or locking out if you had to evacuate your employees, they typically realize that's the element of their planning they haven't fully considered. Now, a company, for example, an -- a company like general dynamics that has a lot of government contracts, they've got a beautiful plan because they have to. But most employers don't. If you ask most families, have you written your plan, have you practiced your plan, do your children understand the plan, they will say no.

>> Michael Grant: Build a kit. Is that getting to the supplies aspect of it?

>> Cathy Tisdale: Yes. You watch what happened after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and what you saw was that people evacuated out of their homes with nothing but the clothes on their back. They didn't have those most basic essentials. So we suggest strongly that you have a supply of what you would need to live off of for three days. Food, clothing, drinkable water, some kind of proof of identification, required medications. If you have infants or elderly people in your family, those things that babies and older people must have in order to sort of live comfortably and have those in a kit, have it in your car, have it sort of ready to go in the closet by your front door, but be ready.

>> Michael Grant: Obviously a component being to get it together. You don't want to be running around the house saying, you know, where's the --

>> Cathy Tisdale: It's a great family project.

>> Michael Grant: Get trained, another aspect of the plan. What does that mean?

>> Cathy Tisdale: Again, that's another -- it's something that the Red Cross has always talked about but we learned more after 9/11. There's two elements of training, both for people where they work and for families. One is very basic disaster training, which we've already talked a little bit about having that emergency plan, having that kit together. So we can provide the training to sort of talk people through what that needs to be. The second part is very, very basic first aid. It's not necessarily going through our standard CPR training but it's the most basic first aid you would need to take care of yourself or a family member or a co-worker.

>> Michael Grant: Cuts --

>> Cathy Tisdale: Cuts, bruises, you fall down, you sprain your ankle, you have trouble breathing. All of the things that we saw happen after 9/11.

>> Michael: Volunteer.

>> Cathy Tisdale: In the American Red Cross 97% of all of the disasters that we respond to every day are responded to by trained volunteers. So we are a nation that relies on our neighbors to help us.

>> Michael Grant: 97%?

>> Cathy Tisdale: 97%.

>> Michael Grant: That's an amazing statistic.

>> Cathy Tisdale: Here locally of all of our preparedness classes we teach, 85% of them are taught by trained volunteers. So two things are true. We really are an organization that relies on neighbors to help neighbors, and secondly, it's not -- it's how we manage our cost as a Red Cross and, therefore, how we use the donors' donated dollar to go more directly to service to people.

>> Michael Grant: And finally, give blood.

>> Cathy Tisdale: We want people who are healthy and meet the criteria to give blood at least three times a year to ensure that there is a safe and adequate blood supply whenever it's needed.

>> Michael Grant: And unfortunately, that -- it strikes me that the blood donation process is a lot like the holiday giving process. I mean, giving should be a year-round function. Blood should be a regular function as well, but I would assume that it spikes when you have circumstances like Katrina or the tsunami or you have the special appeals and special circumstances.

>> Cathy Tisdale: It's like people donate money and they donate blood when the media -- when you have all told the story and created that visual on television that compels people and motivates people to act. They act in extraordinary ways. If we could engage with that level of enthusiasm year-round, organizations like the Red Cross would never be short of the funding we need to do our work and the blood supply would be adequate. It would be safe. And it would always be there for people who need it. But some people are really motivated by the moment and by that sort of additional tug on the heart.

>> Michael Grant: Now, is there a checklist that a person can get? Because absent taking copious notes k they --

>> Cathy Tisdale: They absolutely can. We have all of the check lists that you would need at our web site, which is WWW.arizonaredcross.ORG. It's downloadable. You can print it out. You can send it to friends and family. And then if you want more information, we're happy to provide it from our office.

>> Michael Grant: All right. Cathy Tisdale of the American Red Cross, all of us appreciate the Red Cross' efforts. We know that it's been an incredibly taxing 10 months or so and thank you for joining us and thank you for your efforts.

>> Cathy Tisdale: Thanks.

>> Michael Grant: 80,000 people were killed in the Pakistani earthquake earlier this month, 3 million have been left homeless and the damage in hundreds of villages has yet to be assessed. All that takes money and resource to clean up. Local efforts still under way to raise money and supplies. Here to talk about that is Dr. Rashda Kaif, president of the Pakistani information and cultural organization and Rajab Ali Fidal, also of PICO. Welcome to you both. Dr. Kaif, geographically what area of Pakistan are we talking about?

>> Rashda Kaif: This is the northwest part of the country.

>> Michael Grant: Based upon those statistics, I assume that it's a heavily populated region?

>> Rashda Kaif: Yes.

>> Michael Grant: What sort of -- what sort of aftershocks have there been? I understand -- it wasn't just the initial wave of the earthquake?

>> Rashda Kaif: Yes. So far the estimate is that it's over 900 aftershocks that have been felt and it has created a sense of fear and emergency in people who have already been affected. So, there's a lot of fear of landslides and further damage.

>> Michael Grant: Rajab, is this unusual for Pakistan? I know earthquakes occur. This one seems particularly severe.

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: Yes, it is not very usual -- very unusual to have something of this sort in Pakistan, but it is, yes, in the earthquake zone.

>> Michael Grant: Winter is coming up. I assume that's simply going to increase the hardship there?

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: Yes, as you know people are all displaced. They are just under the sky right now. They don't have any blankets. They don't have any winterized tents. They don't have anything at this point in time. A lot of it, some of it, has been given to them, but they still need a lot of support from the community. A lot of support from people.

>> Michael Grant: Are winters particularly severe?

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: Yes, at that particular geographical location, yes, winter is very, very severe.

>> Michael Grant: Now, I understand there was a PICO fund-raiser last week? Tell us about that.

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: Yes, we had a big fund-raiser, and we're very grateful to our senator, senator Jon Kyl, for his tremendous generosity and his time that he gave for this purpose. We're also very grateful to vice Mayor Michael Johnson for his coming down there and supporting, a very personal friend. They have done a very good job promoting this. We were able to raise some $60,000 on that particular night and money is still coming in, blankets and other necessary things that we have asked for, still coming in, and we're very grateful to the community.

>> Michael Grant: Where was the event held? Who generally was in attendance?

>> Rashda Kaif: Most of the local community. I mean, we're talking about Indians, Pakistanis, people from different parts of the world, and there were approximately over 300 people, including senator Jon Kyl and vice~mayor of Phoenix Mr. Michael Johnson, and a lot of, you know, folks from the local community showed up just showing their sense of support and their sympathy. And so we are very grateful to the local community for that.

>> Michael Grant: Rajab, I understand PICO has set up seven collection points around Valley. Tell us about those, where they're located.

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: They're located all over the Valley from northwest to Tempe, the southeast, at the central, and also the northeast. So we have all seven locations that they can drop off the needed items, the blankets, the winterized tents and other necessary items. Yes, they are available.

>> Michael Grant: You mentioned a couple of items there. In general, give the audience a little more idea of the kinds of things that you would be looking for that would be helpful.

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: What we are looking at primarily is the winterized tents as well as blankets and medicines Dr. Rashda can elaborate more on terms of what medicines. With her background, she would know.

>> Rashda Kaif: The kind of injuries that people have suffered in Pakistan are crushing injuries, a lot of people have been forced to have emergency on the spot amputations because of the delay in the evacuation efforts. So there's a desperate need of wheelchairs, antibiotics, analgesics, dehydration kits and also, you know, like I said, you know, we are accepting cash donations so that we can further allocate and designate the money where it needs to go.

>> Michael Grant: Now, I know sometimes that actually giving things becomes a burden because of the transport of those things becomes a burden. Transportation arrangements satisfactory, things collected, you can get over there in an efficient manner?

>> Rashda Kaif: Yes, actually we are trying to gather the goods, the donations, and we are carrying them -- we have some big collection trucks and they are going to reach New York and from there the Pakistani international airline has been carrying the goods over to Pakistan without cost at this point. So that has been a great help to us.

>> Michael Grant: Okay. We are going to put up the web site address and the telephone number Why don't you give me those. Where can people contact who want to give?

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: They can contact our web site at www.pack etaninformation.ORG and they can call the number --

>> Michael Grant: It's on the screen. Looks like it's 480-515-2030. And the web site address is also there as well. Rajab, thank you very much for joining us.

>> Rajab Ali Fidai: Thanks for having us.

>> Michael Grant: Dr. Kaif, our thanks to you as well. Shredding documents that contain personal or financial information one way to prevent identity theft. Unfortunately many people have too much to shred all at one time so they let it pile up, but the state's AARP and the Arizona Attorney General's office have teamed up to give people the opportunity to shred large amounts of documents in one fell swoop. Merry Lucero has more.

>> Merry Lucero: It's called a Shred-A-Thon, an opportunity for people to shred lots of documents in one shot. This truck handles five to six tons of paper. Today's event at the Mesa multi-generational center was co-sponsored by the Attorney General's office and AARP.

>> David Mitchell: We have been doing this actually several places around the state. What is happening is people are bringing old documents, as a matter of fact, I talked to a gentleman today who said he had documents from 1957. So people are bringing their documents just to protect themselves against identity theft.

>> Merry Lucero: Most government agencies say to keep records for a maximum of seven years. The tendency is to keep them a lot longer. Seniors are often the primary victims of identity theft.

>> Terry Goddard: They are the target that brings many identity thieves to Arizona in the first place because we have a large population of seniors here. They meet the qualifications. They have a substantial -- very many times they have substantial liquid assets, and unfortunately they are unsophisticated in -- many of them are unsophisticated about some of the fraud, some of the ways that you can have your money taken through identity theft, and unfortunately they don't guard their accounts as carefully and often, and this is to their credit but it hurts in the identity theft area. They answer questions honestly and straightforwardly. Someone calls and asks can I have your credit card number, bank information, and seniors are more likely to give it to strangers.

>> Merry Lucero: Many came today to not only shred documents but for information as well. Now days ID theft is an area in which some thieves specialize.

>> Dennis Donna: This is no longer a white-collar crime. It's really a blue-collar crime and there are a lot of people throughout our front lines, common criminals, who are looking for this kind of information in a variety of ways. It might be from a particular store that you charged something at, an employee there. It might be somebody who has got a meth habit to support. Or really it could be a ring of thieves who are more sophisticated than that and have ways of get eyeing your information we may not know about yet.

>> Merry Lucero: In Mesa there are more than 3,000 cases a year of document crimes that range from forged checks to the more serious. More state laws could focus on I.D. theft prevention.

>> Chuck Gray: This is an important issue for me and I have actually sponsored legislation because one of the aspects of identity theft is the idea that somebody is going to take your Social Security number and the way that we use your Social Security number these days is much different than it was ever intended. My Social Security card says this is not to be used for identification purposes. Yet everywhere we go they asked for your SOC. So my efforts at the legislature have been to tell the state government that they can no longer ask for your Social Security number. If your Social Security number is not out there, nobody can steal it.

>> Merry Lucero: Darla Kepner took the opportunity to shred documents she had been storing over the years.

>> Darla Kepner: Well, I had some old checks and bank statements and just insurance papers and things that I've had collected over the years but gest never took the time to shred because it -- it's time consuming and you'll just burn up your shredder if you sit there hour after hour doing it. So I just brought it here.

>> Merry Lucero: A steady stream of people brought their old documents throughout the event. More Shred-A-Thons are scheduled to take place across the Valley and state.

>> Terry Goddard: We're trying to increase the frequency of Shred-A-Thons. That's a big mission for me and the AARP and a lot of other folks in the community. Mostly we just have to tell people to be alert, be suspicious, certainly don't put financial information in the trash, don't share your Social Security number with other people unless you know exactly what it's for and you have a very legitimate reason to give it. There are a few of those. But the main thing is if you've got large amounts of material to shred, wait for one of these and bring it to an industrial shredder and they can take care of it all at once.

>> Michael Grant: In fact, there is another Shred-A-Thon scheduled for this Saturday October 29th in the Fiesta Mall Target parking lot at Southern and Longmore. That one will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Find out about upcoming shows or get a transcript of the show you just watched. It's all available on our web site. You'll find that at www.azpbs.org. Click on the word "Horizon" when you get to our homepage. Thank you very much for joining us on a Thursday evening. I'm Michael Grant. Hope you have a great one. Good night.

Dr. Rashda Kaif:president of the Pakistani information and cultural organization;

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