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Will you be ready when disaster strikes Sonoma County?

Long lines of people waiting for supplies in New York on Monday two weeks after superstorm Sandy hammered the East Coast have struck a deep chord in Sonoma County, where residents are wondering if they are ready should disaster strike closer to home.

"We live in an area that has not had an earthquake in quite some time and everybody knows it is just a matter of time," said Doug Bishop, co-owner of Sebastopol Hardware Center.

The U.S. Geological Survey predicts a 63 percent probability for one or more magnitude 6.7 or greater earthquakes between now and 2036 within the Bay Area.

Officials recommend maintaining a two-week supply of emergency gear: water, food, medicines and tools. Those items should be itemized and stored in an area separate from the house, experts say.

"If your home experiences major structural damage, the attic is not someplace you are going to want to go digging around," Bishop said.

Bishop's store worked in conjunction with the local American Red Cross office to develop a 16-week plan that shows customers how they can create an emergency supply kit while readying home and family for a major disaster.

In the wake of Sandy, North Coast residents are seeking advice from the American Red Cross on how to be better prepared to survive an earthquake or other disaster in California.

"When there is a big disaster, people want to volunteer and people want to help by donating, but it is a great opportunity for us to spread preparedness awareness," said American Red Cross spokeswoman Ellen Maremont Silver.

Some are stockpiling their own disaster kits. Friedman's Home Improvement reported an uptick in sales of large, industrial containers following Sandy. Plans on how to respond to a disaster should be realistic and reflect already established patterns, said Rebecca Bautista, a Friedman's spokeswoman.

"Take the time to step back and plan what the process would be," she said. "I think that it really depends on your lifestyle and home and what your personal exit strategy is."


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