In earthquake-prone San Francisco it made sense for James and Robin Wong to learn how to be prepared for an emergency. They both became trained in civilian rescue with the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT), a program that was initiated after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989.
"We wanted to be more self-sufficient in case of an earthquake, even a terrorist attack," says Robin Wong. "We've been in a lot of disasters and we want to be sure we're stable enough that we don't need the help."
In this post 9/11 world, the Wongs are way ahead of the preparedness curve. Long before homeland security alerts that initiated runs on duct tape and plastic, they had "go-bags" packed with equipment, food, water and clothes that can see them through any emergency - at least for the recommended three days.
Concerned that their family might not be able to communicate with each other in an emergency, the Wongs made sure that every family member - even their 11 and 12-year-old daughters- earned a Hamm radio license.
"NERT's motto is 'Don't be a victim,'" says Robin. "Make sure you're safe, make sure your family is safe before you go out and help other people, because you don't want all these other things on your mind... you're not thinking."