The devastating 8.9 earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan Thursday night is a reminder to be prepared for earthquakes, floods, wildfires and other disasters. Check your your earthquake kits to be sure that food, water and batteries have not expired.

Here in Southern California, we live in earthquake country, and it is a question of WHEN not IF the “Big One” will hit. Every person in Los Angeles should be prepared with a family emergency plan, and have enough food, water, survival gear and medical supplies to be self-sufficient for at least 72 hours in case of a disaster. To learn how to prepare your survival kits and emergency plans for your home and workplace, visit http://www.earthquakecountry.info/roots/steps.html.

Our thoughts and best wishes go out to all of those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami relief effort. Here are several ways you can quickly and easily donate to the relief efforts to assist the earthquake and tsunami victims:

The Japanese Red Cross is accepting donations online or via text message. Text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 from your phone (you’ll be prompted to confirm with a second text reading YES and it will be charged to your phone bill). Donate online at http://tiny.cc/s00xs.

Shelterbox provides assistance to afflicted countries by delivering large utility boxes containing a shelter and emergency relief tools, and has already launched an international fundraising effort for Japan. To donate online, visit http://www.shelterbox.org/donate.php.

International Medical Corps has an Emergency Response Efforts fund. To donate by phone, call (800) 481-4462. To donate online, click here.

GlobalGiving: has launched the global Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, to support on-the-ground organizations that provide emergency services. To donate online visit www.GlobalGiving.org.

Convoy of Hope: This faith-based non-profit focuses on disaster relief efforts. To donate online, visit http://www.convoyofhope.org. To donate via text message, text “TSUNAMI” to 50555 (you’ll also be prompted to confirm with a follow up text of YES).