Earthquakes can happen anywhere, at any time.
California is at especially high risk for earthquakes, and they occur more frequently here than they do elsewhere in the United States, leaving residents vulnerable. April has been designated Earthquake Preparedness Month to remind the public of the importance of being ready for possible earthquakes. While no one can predict when and where an earthquake might strike, the more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to stay safe and to overcome challenges after one hits. Read on for some helpful tips.
BEFORE: Make a Kit & Have a Plan
Consider what might happen if an earthquake strikes while you’re at home or at work, and have a plan for both scenarios!
1) Discuss the possibility of earthquakes with your family and colleagues, and review what you will do if one occurs.
2) Designate an out-of-area point person for your family to contact in case you’re separated and cell service goes down.
3) Make a kit that you can grab at a moment’s notice containing all the things you might need in the event of a major disaster. Some basic items to include are extra clothing, cash, medicines, enough food and water for 3 days, a first aid kit, toiletries, flashlights and batteries, protective gear such as gloves and a face mask, and a hand-crank radio. It’s a good idea to have one at home, at work and in your car.
4) Earthquake-proof your home and office by securing shelves, large electronics and heavy furniture, placing items that could become debris away from beds and desks, repairing any structural defects, faulty gas or electrical lines and leaky pipes, and familiarizing yourself with how to turn off the gas lines in your home.
5) Identify safe spots in each room of your home and office where you can take shelter if an earthquake hits.
6) Review what to do during an earthquake and practice with drills that will help you avoid panic if and when an earthquake strikes.
DURING: Drop, Cover & Hold On
If an earthquake strikes, minimize your movements to a few steps to a nearby safe place and stay there until the shaking stops.
If you’re in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly and as safely as you can, making sure to stay away from buildings, trees, utility poles and wires and overpasses.
If you’re outside, move as quickly as you can into the open away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires. Then, drop and stay in place until the shaking stops. If you are in a city and are unable to avoid buildings, you may need to duck inside.
If you’re inside, drop to your hands and knees and, if possible, crawl to shelter under a sturdy piece of furniture. Then, brace yourself, cover your head and neck, and wait for the shaking to stop. Stay away from glass, outside doors and walls, and anything that might fall. If you are in bed, cover your head and neck with a pillow.
Do not try to exit the building during an earthquake, only proceed outside once the shaking has stopped and it is safe to do so.
AFTER: Ensure Your Safety & Follow Your Plan
Once the shaking stops, evaluate your surroundings and safely exit the building with your disaster kit, bypassing any debris or structural damages and turning off gas lines on the way. If you are in a vehicle, proceed with caution. The first 72 hours following an earthquake are the most critical, so prepare to be self-sufficient for at least that long.
1) Expect and be prepared for aftershocks, which can be strong enough to cause additional damage or injury.
2) Extinguish small fires, and avoid using matches or lighters near damaged areas as gas lines may have been disturbed.
3) Connect with neighbors, colleagues or family members and ensure that everyone is safe and accounted for. Assist others around you if it is possible to do so safely.
4) Tune in to the news and/or disaster alerts to get more information and heed all safety warnings in your area. If you’re near a coast, pay attention to tsumani risks, and if instructed move inland to higher ground.
5) Only use the phone to notify authorities if anyone is trapped or seriously injured. Keep phone lines open for emergency calls if you are safe and follow your emergency plan to connect with family members if separated.
6) Stay away from damaged areas, and wait for instructions from authorities. Do not return home until you are told to do so. If necessary, locate shelters in your area for temporary housing.
7) Once you return home, do so cautiously and be careful to avoid further damage or injury. Protect yourself from broken objects and debris with gloves. Clean up spills or leaks first, and leave the area if you smell fumes from chemicals or gas.
For more helpful tips and information on how to get prepared for earthquakes, visit Ready.gov.
Remember, the best way to stay safe during an earthquake and to protect yourself in the aftermath of a major event is to prepare yourself BEFORE it happens. Take part in California Earthquake Preparedness Month by making your kits, reviewing your plan, and familiarizing yourself with the procedures you should follow.
Operation USA is Los Angeles’ resident disaster relief agency, and encourages all city residents to be prepared with a kit, a plan, and knowledge of what to do in the event of a disaster. To donate to OpUSA’s ongoing relief and recovery fund, supporting preparedness and post-disaster efforts locally and worldwide, visit give.opusa.org.
Girl Scouts of the USA and Toyota Financial Services Pave the Way for Girls' Financial Empowerment with "Driving My Financial Future"
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is excited to announce a new, multi-year partnership with Toyota Financial Services (TFS), which has pledged $2.1 million to help girls become self-reliant, financially literate, and capable of leveraging their talent, resources, and personal business values to build a stronger economy and healthier communities. With less than half the states in the U.S. offering financial education in schools, it is vital that girls are provided access to solid, foundational information on the world of personal finance.
With the launch of “Driving My Financial Future,” GSUSA and TFS will empower 26,000 underserved girls across the country with tools and resources necessary not only to feel confident in their financial decisions but also to build financial capability.
According to the Girl Scout Research Institute (GSRI), girls clearly desire financial empowerment skills to help them achieve their dreams. In fact, 90 percent say it is important for them to learn how to manage money and 68 percent are interested in learning about how to save money and plan for the future. Girls are extremely optimistic about their futures but admit to lacking the financial confidence and knowledge they need to achieve their dreams.
”At Girl Scouts, we have always known that financial literacy is a crucial component of building leadership skills in girls,” said Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA. “Programs like our iconic Girl Scout Cookie Program are designed to provide girls with the tools they need to be financially savvy leaders in their own lives. Through this terrific new partnership with Toyota Financial Services, we will now be able to extend the reach of our financial literacy programming to more than 20,000 underserved girls who will use their new skills to make their communities and their world a better place.”
Through Driving My Financial Future, TFS will conduct financial empowerment events nationwide with TFS volunteers; provide college scholarships ranging from $5,000 to $20,000; and offer the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting handbooks to new Girl Scouts in 10 councils across the country, which volunteers can then use to help girls earn their financial literacy badges and a Toyota participation patch. In the spirit of Financial Literacy Month, the program’s national kickoff will be held in Los Angeles today, April 16, 2015, at the Toyota Campus in Torrance, California, with 140 local Girl Scouts and hundreds of TFS volunteers.
“With its unique ability to provide fun, experiential learning, the Girl Scout organization offers TFS a real opportunity to bring Driving My Financial Future to tens of thousands of young people across the country, and particularly to those in underserved communities,” said Mike Groff, president and CEO of Toyota Financial Services.
When girls understand the value of properly managing personal finances, they are better prepared for the realities of adulthood. GSUSA and TFS are committed to supporting tens of thousands of girls on their road to financial empowerment.
Read the interview.
Lois Harris of Cape May, New Jersey, is a Girl Scout through and through. With more patches than she can count, tons of stories, and a love of Girl Scouting that has filled her life and those of girls across five states for decades, Lois is not only a Girl Scout alumna but a dedicated volunteer with 68 years of experience! Today, we celebrate you, Lois, for your passion, your dedication, and all the amazing ways you have made a difference throughout your life.
Girl Scout volunteers around the country like Lois really do make a difference for so many girls. These individuals, through their giving spirits, provide girls with an opportunity to take part in the adventure of a lifetime. Often, volunteers—true mentors—make a lifelong impression on girls, sparking in them a desire to pay it forward, introducing them to new hobbies and even future careers, and fueling our Movement with strength and passion.
“I was an only child and suddenly I had all those sisters!” Lois shared with a laugh. “Plus, I had the greatest mentor as a Girl Scout that you could ever have, and I have been trying to pay her back ever since.”
As did the Girl Scout leader who inspired her into action, Lois has contributed so much to Girl Scouting—from leading troops, to mentoring hundreds of girls and holding a variety of volunteer leadership positions at various councils, to serving as a Girl Scout summer camp director. She even spent 20 years as a docent (guide) at the Girl Scout Museum at G.S. Cedar Hill Program Center in Waltham, Massachusetts, where she gave tours, told stories about her many patches, and hosted tea parties!
“I have a cape with all my patches on it that hangs down as far as my knees, and it’s made of the same material Girl Scout uniforms were made of in the seventies,” Lois shared proudly. “And I don’t just collect patches; I’ve earned every single one. Everything on that cape represents the places I’ve gone and the things I’ve done in scouting.”
During her tours at the museum, Lois would place her incredible cape on the floor and tell visiting Girl Scouts all about the places she’d been and the amazing things she had done because of Girl Scouts. “I’d say to them, ‘If you stay in Girl Scouts long enough, you’ll get to do these things too!’”
Lois talks about her experiences as a Girl Scout and Girl Scout volunteer with great fondness, highlighting all the fun and adventures she’s had, as well as the amazing things she and the hundreds of girls she’s mentored over the years have learned along the way.
“I think my favorite part of being a Girl Scout volunteer is seeing girls develop from innocent young children to taking responsibility and learning leadership skills, especially at the Cadette level,” Lois said. “I learned leadership skills, too—the more you [volunteer], the better you get at it. You get very good at dealing with other women at leader meetings. [Girl Scouts] really is a great character and leadership building organization.”
Take it from Lois: being a Girl Scout volunteer rocks! Let’s give a cheer for Lois and thousands like her, who make Girl Scouting possible every day, bringing so much passion enthusiasm to an already incredible adventure!
Looking for a way to thank your own Girl Scout volunteer? Download a shareable thank-you card. You can also tag your volunteer in a quick thank-you message on Facebook or Twitter today!
April is about more than awesome April Fool’s jokes, the April showers that precede the “May flowers” Easter Bunnies, and the start of warmer weather. April also kicks off Financial Literacy Month, a time we dedicate to making sure you, our future leaders, are on the path to financial independence.
Whether you earn a weekly allowance or plan on working a summer job, it’s important to build some money management skills so that you can make solid money-saving goals. Here are five tips any teen can use to make every penny count.
Set a goal and write out a plan. Maybe you’re saving for your first car, or plan to take a summer trip with friends. Or perhaps you’ve been crushing on a few new items for your wardrobe. No matter the goal, putting a plan in place is necessary. Write out how much you need to save and dedicate the proper amount from each check or allowance to your goal’s fund. Having it written out makes it easier for you to see how much you should be setting aside and keeps you on track. Monitor your progress, and even set a timeline. This way, you’ll spend only on things you need—and save the rest!
Pack a lunch instead of buying every day. School lunch, while it may not be expensive, adds up over time. If you’re buying lunch five days a week, do the math to see how much you’re spending versus how much you could be saving if you packed lunch using groceries you already have at home. Not only will you save money, but chances are you’ll find yourself packing healthier options!
Carry cash. If you have a bank account, deposit the majority of your money into the account and withdraw a set amount of cash per week. Whether you’re going to the mall or out to eat with friends, when your cash is gone, you’re done spending! Repeatedly swiping a debit or credit card often provides the luxury of not being mindful of how much you’re spending. By keeping cash on you at all times, you’re setting a budget and are more inclined to stick to it.
Determine wants versus needs. Do you really need a new cell phone case, or do you like it because it’s the latest style? So often we let our impulses control our spending, and those small impulse buys add up. Practicing restraint at the register and spending responsibly will keep money in your pockets for the times that really matter.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help! Parents are an excellent resource for helping kids and teenagers keep track of their spending/saving. Have them set up a savings account in your name and give them the money to put aside every pay period. If you receive a weekly allowance, have them deposit it directly into your account instead of giving it to you to spend. You’ll be surprised how quickly it adds up!
As we all know, girls see a future where they are financially independent and empowered, and 94 percent of girls want to make their own money instead of relying on their parents. Financial education is key to ensuring these money makers are also fiscally responsible. Check out the Girl Scout Research Institute’s Having It All: Girls and Financial Literacy study for more stats, tips, and research on what it takes to empower the future drivers of our economy.