Surprise. Just when we were settling into a false sense of not having to endure shake, rattle and rolls, Mother Nature sent out a couple of significant reminders not to ignore her power.

The Searles earthquakes centered near Ridgecrest and Trona on July 4 and 5, were all too eerie reminders of a summer weekend  in Big Bear 27 years ago. When the Landers and Big  Bear earthquakes hit, houses shifted, chimneys crumbled, homes burned and businesses were destroyed. Families moved outside, called tents home for weeks until they felt comfortable enough to venture back inside and pick up the pieces. Others left Big Bear, left California heading for someplace that didn’t shake and the earth didn’t open up attempting to swallow us whole.

Anyone who has lived in Big Bear for more than 27 years and experienced the 1992 earthquakes followed by the Northridge quake a few years later that was felt loud and clear in Big Bear, knows all too well that preparedness is key. We’ve heard it over and over: it’s not if, it’s when the next disaster strikes.

Earthquakes, forest fires, snow, rain, floods and wind storms — Big Bear has experienced it all, as have many similar mountain and rural towns here and across the country. We have escaped hurricanes and tornadoes, but the above are all too common in this part of the country. Yet, as smart as we are and as many times as it’s been drilled into our psyche, most likely the majority of us aren’t prepared for the big one, for evacuation, for a 6-feet in a day snow storm.

How many of you have a go bag? How many of you have a box or bag with supplies? How many of you have water, nonperishable food, extra cash and your important papers ready to go at a moment’s notice? How many of you know where your flashlight is?

Now is the time to remedy the fact that you aren’t prepared. Now is the time to pack the go bag and put it in your car. Now is the time to gather the supplies and box them up ready to grab. Now is the time to find the flashlight and check the batteries. Go purchase fresh ones, just in case.

Being prepared isn’t feeling like doomsday is near. It’s just the opposite. It’s being ready to enjoy tomorrow just in case there is cause for worry or concern. Being prepared is very adult of us, and chances are those who are reading this are adults, so it’s up to us to take the lead.

Local officials have the info you need. The Red Cross has a disaster kit check list. Local retailers carry the supplies you need. There are no excuses.

Whether it’s an earthquake, a fire, a snowstorm, a flash flood or a wind storm — be prepared when disaster comes calling so you can meet the challenge head on.

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