COOS BAY - When a child witnesses a major event it leaves an impression and, for some, memories that last a lifetime.

As a 10-year-old growing up in Southern California, Kim Singh went through her first memorable quake in the early 1970s.

"I have never been freaked out by them, because I was taught what to do," Singh said.

"Living in the Santa Cruz mountains we had power outages all the time that would last three or four days, up to a week," Singh added. "So it was the wise thing to do, to have things prepared. It was just what we did because we knew the power was going to go out."

Singh lived in a small town called Felton, Calif., with a population of 3,200. It was about a half hour drive from Santa Cruz proper.

So when the early morning 6.9 magnitude Loma Prieta earthquake of Oct. 17, 1989 struck, it left a truly big impression. The San Andreas Fault slipped more than 6 feet causing a quake that lasted about 20 seconds but destroyed parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. That quake is currently ranked as one of the top 10 earthquakes ever recorded for California with 63 confirmed deaths, and thousands affected. One of the most notable events was the upper deck collapse of the Interstate 880 in Oakland, Calif. It was also one of the most financially devastating events in the country's history according to https://sciencestruck.com.

For Singh, being prepared is just a simple reality and she thinks everyone should be prepared.

Her fanny-pack with some essentials goes with her everywhere. She has her 72-hour-bag and could rough it at home with no power for days. She has food, water, shelter, and heat — all the basics are covered — every "what if."

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"I have a medical background. I used to be an EMT, Red Cross CPR instructor. My parents were Power Squadron Boating Safety instructors. So the medical part has always kind of been there," Singh said.

"Finding out about the Cascadia, when moving up here from California, was an eye-opener, and seeing how ill-prepared people are," Singh emphasized.

So the natural thing for her to do was to get involved helping people understand the value of being prepared.

She got involved with Bay Area Community Emergency Response Team between seven and eight years ago as a volunteer and has been the Bay Area CERT Team Leader for approximately six of those years. Her unpaid position keeps her busy with research, online tasks, talks and meetings. She estimated that she spends about 15-20 hours a week on those various duties.

She educates people about the reality of preparing for the unexpected by sharing real-life scenarios. 

Singh has other things to do as well. Her children are grown but she cares for her 5-year-old grandson four days a week while his parents work, likely teaching him some basic preparation skills.

CERT is a nationally recognized government program that began in 1993. It is the link between official agencies and neighborhoods that in a real crisis will be taken off guard by the limited access to official agency responses: https://www.ready.gov. Coos County CERT has a Facebook page for those who would like to investigate the local group.

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