San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913

The Daily Aztec

Natural disasters aren’t so rare, be prepared

Emily Forschen

I woke up to the air feeling thicker and drier than usual making it slightly difficult to breathe outside. This is a familiar, yet unpleasant feeling that I didn’t believe I could sense this early in the year, especially in San Diego. I can’t seem to escape the reminder of the wildfires in Northern California.

I wasn’t surprised when, later that day, I saw the plume of smoke in North County from a distance while sitting down on the sunny beaches of Del Mar.

Last month, a wildfire of over 500 acres broke out in the Cleveland National Forest, a 6.2 magnitude earthquake hit Indonesia, Australia is bracing for Cyclone Anika, and over 100 avalanches hit Austria. In January, a 700-acre wildfire burned in Big Sur and a massive volcano erupted in Tonga, which led to multiple tsunami warnings on the Pacific coast including San Diego.

The world is changing. Climate change is not stopping anytime soon, and natural disasters have become inevitable wherever you might be living. It’s how you handle yourself in these situations that determines your chances of surviving or saving your prized possessions.

So, how do you become prepared for a natural disaster?

First off, make a strategic plan for packing and evacuation with the people in your household or the people in your emergency contact list.

There are important questions you need to ask yourself when developing this plan. What is my evacuation plan? What is my shelter plan? Who is the closest family or friends that are willing to use their home as a shelter for me?

If your area is prone to a certain natural disaster, such as wildfires, have your evacuation zone memorized.

When it comes to packing, having a go-bag prepared at all times is key to escaping quickly and efficiently.

This “go-bag” can contain anything from a weeks’ worth of clothing to important documents and medication to a first-aid kit to personal memorabilia such as pictures. Carefully think through what is essential for you to live your day-to-day life, but also your possessions that you have a personal connection to.

Living through natural disasters you realize what your wants and needs are. You need food and water. You don’t need your entire closet. You are the judge of your own survival essentials.

When your community is prone to a specific natural disaster during a certain season, have this go-bag packed and ready in your car during that time so you’re ready at any moment.

In your car carry batteries, flashlights, portable chargers, and car battery cables.

After having this packing list and evacuation plan finalized, create an emergency contact list. This includes the people whose home you plan to evacuate to, but also the people in your neighborhood. This list can also include family or friends who live out of town that can become a second possible evacuation spot for you.

Notify the people on this emergency contact list about your evacuation plan and how they play into it.

With the people on this list and in your household, determine emergency meeting spots when your original evacuation spots become compromised. This can be store parking lots or community centers. Discuss with everyone what their designated job is when it comes to evacuate in order to avoid the extra chaos.

Lastly, sign up for your local community emergency alerts to always be alert of what is happening and if you are in danger. A great resource is the AlertSanDiego emergency response system, which notifies residents and businesses within San Diego County if they will be impacted by an emergency or disaster. Register here to be alert for the latest local disaster news.

I’ve been affected by a natural disaster. I’ve seen people lose everything to natural disasters. You can never be too ready for a natural disaster because you never know when a disaster can strike next.  

 Maritza Camacho is a junior studying journalism. Follow her on Instagram @maritza___camacho. 

About the Contributors
Maritza Camacho
Maritza Camacho, Staff Writer
Maritza is a fourth-year journalism major at San Diego State University after transferring from Santa Rosa Junior College in Spring 2021. Her desire to cover social issues started in the 4th grade when she wrote about social issues for her elementary school’s paper. Maritza also enjoys working out and listening to music, which will inform her arts and entertainment coverage. Maritza was an editor for The Oak Leaf, Santa Rosa Junior College's news media. She has won national awards for her COVID-19 coverage and podcasts, and has been featured as a panelist for the California Humanities Youth and the Ballot. In addition to podcasting and writing, she is the current social media assistant for KPBS and the social media editor for the National Association for Hispanic Journalists. In all of her current and future work, she continues to give a voice to the voiceless.
Emily Forschen
Emily Forschen, '21-22 Graphics Editor
Emily Kim Forschen (she/her) is a senior journalism major from Tracy, Calif. who has a hard time sitting still. She has a passion for covering all things California, but specifically is focused now on learning how to report on prisons and incarceration. She spends too much time on Twitter (@emilyschen) and actively wants to talk to you all the time about anything pop culture! Previously, Emily was the editor-in-chief of The Express at Las Positas College, worked as a reporting fellow for CalMatters’ College Journalism Network and was a founding officer of SDSU’s chapter of AAJA. Emily is excited to be the graphic design editor again this semester, polishing and developing The Daily Aztec’s look throughout 2022.
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San Diego State University’s Independent Student Newspaper Since 1913
Natural disasters aren’t so rare, be prepared