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Wed, July 17

Editorial: Quake is a reminder to prepare for emergency

Houses swallowed by tsunami waves burn in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

Houses swallowed by tsunami waves burn in Natori, Miyagi Prefecture (state) after Japan was struck by a strong earthquake off its northeastern coast Friday, March 11, 2011. (AP Photo/Kyodo News)

While all our thoughts and prayers are turned toward Japan, which on Friday suffered the worst earthquake in its recorded history, it's a good time to take stock of things here at home as well.

Japan was well prepared for a large earthquake. What the country could not withstand was a 23-foot tsunami that pushed water as far as six miles inland. Cleanup will be long and difficult.

While we obviously are not in danger of a tsunami here, we have our own dangers to think about and prepare for. Sometimes, disaster preparedness begins to sound like a broken record, and we tune it out.

For instance, with a wet spring, grasses and weeds will be growing again, setting us up for a tough wildfire season. Yet how many of us have given thought to clearing defensible space around our homes? Have we made arrangements for family and pets in the event we have to evacuate? Do we have at least three days of food, water and necessary medications stored in case of an emergency?

While we watch the devastation in Japan, and help in any way we can, we also need to have the conversation at home - before we need it.

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