Retirees Alan and Diana Serry know a thing or two about emergency preparedness.
The couple lives on Palomar Mountain, and because of wildfires have been evacuated from their home at least twice. During the 2007 San Diego County wildfires, they had to leave their home for two weeks. Though they had an RV to stay in, they said they still found themselves low on basic survival items.
"We didn't even have a 72-hour kit at that time," Diana said. "Even going to the grocery stores—a lot of the stuff was already gone. It was flying off the shelves. That was an eye opener for us."
There have also been times when they were left without electricity for up to two days. With the closest grocery store 45 minutes away, the couple has learned to ration.
They now bring their knowledge to Murrieta with their newly-opened store, Be Prepared 911. Alan, a retired custom-home builder, and Diana, a real estate agent and retired AT&T employee, pondered opening a location in Orange County but settled on southwest Riverside County.
The couple said they have been welcomed by the local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), which is overseen by the Murrieta Fire Department. They plan to host demonstrations with CERT and Red Cross.
"When people are prepared, they can help others and lessen the burden on authorities," Alan said.
In addition to selling products such as freeze-dried food, basic emergency readiness kits, solar-powered items and portable water filtration systems, they also offer consulting.
Alan spoke of the small things people can do to be prepared, such as keeping the car filled with gas.
"When there was that huge , people were stranded. They couldn't get home to their families because they didn't have enough gas in their cars."
The store is not a franchise. The couple learned enough from an Oceanside merchant, Be Ready Incorporated, to go into business on their own.
They said they are not trying to instill fear and paranoia in people, which can often be spurred by Doomsday predictions.
"That is not what we are about," Diana said. "People do come in and talk about it and we listen. This was us trying to get our preparedness act together and in doing that we realized we weren't as prepared as we thought we were. Between the wildfires and earthquakes, which are our biggest realities here in Southern California, people should be prepared."
can be reached at 951-304-1245.