The city of Tehachapi recently conducted a social media poll in which 60 percent of local residents who responded said they did not have an emergency preparedness plan in place.

In light of this poll, and recent earthquake activity, the Tehachapi Police Department teamed up with the Kern County Fire Department and Kern County Community Emergency Response Team to present an educational meeting on emergency preparation Wednesday evening at the police department.

The free presentation covered a variety of topics on how individuals and families can prepare for emergency or disaster situations. Speakers included Police Chief Kent Kroeger, Fire Department Capt. Brian Gaddis, Kern County CERT Coordinator Jeannie Taylor and the city's community engagement specialist, Key Budge.

The types of disasters that have or could occur in the Tehachapi area include earthquakes, wildfires, Public Safety Power Shutoffs, floods, accidents/crashes involving semi-trucks, trains and planes, and civil unrest or terrorism, Budge said.

With roughly 30,000 people living within the Greater Tehachapi area, it would require the combined efforts of its citizens as well as law enforcement and emergency response agencies to weather a disaster situation.

"We have the potential for anything up here," Kroeger said. "We have a full staff of 27 people at TPD. With all the things that we are doing following a disaster, you can understand how difficult that would be."

According to CERT Coordinator Jeannie Taylor, the biggest problem Ridgecrest faced following the recent earthquakes was the loss of power, which left many residents scratching their heads, wondering where to purchase gasoline as most of the stations shut down temporarily.

"You as citizens play a huge role," Gaddis said. "Are you ready if everything in this town shuts down?"

In the event of an emergency or natural disaster, the public should prepare to care for themselves with a minimum of 72 hours worth of supplies. Make a "Go Bag" emergency kit for your home, car and office.

The individual needs of each family will differ; however, everyone should plan to have on hand the following:

• Water (one gallon per person, per day)

• Food

• First aid kit

• Flashlight

• Radio

• Medications

• Cash, small bills

• Important documents saved on a thumb drive

• Clothing and sturdy shoes, and gloves

• Sanitation and hygiene supplies

• Pet food

• Tools

According to Gaddis, the better the public is prepared and can take care of themselves following a disaster, the better emergency personnel can take care of those who are not prepared.

"The goal of disaster preparedness is to save the maximum number of lives and property," Kroeger said.

According to Budge, being prepared has several moving parts:

• Make a plan

• Communication plan

• Out of town contacts

• Neighborhood meeting place

• Regional meeting place

• Work and school contact information

Emergency alert apps

One of the first ways to prepare for disaster is by installing one or more emergency alert applications on your cell phone. The following apps are available:

• NIXLE: Text "Tehachapi" to 888-777

• ReadyKern: KCFD ReadyKern.com

• Smart 9-1-1: Smart911.com

"Everything I want responders to know about my house is stored on Smart 9-1-1," said Taylor.

CERT training coming up

According to Taylor, Tehachapi has seen "some very horrific, large scale disasters in recent years, and a lot of people were not prepared for them."

For this reason, the Greater Tehachapi Valley CERT is offering their free Basic Course on the first weekend of October.

It will be held: 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4; 8 a.m. to 5:30p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5; and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. It takes place at Golden Hills Community District, 21415 Reeves St.

To register for the Fall CERT Basic Course or to place your name on the interest list for future class dates, visit www.TehachapiCERT.com, email us at gtvCERTrain@gmail.com, or call 271-7066. Class size is limited to 25 participants.

Additional resources

For more information on emergency preparedness, visit: