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Emergency Preparedness

It is not unusual when you experience an emergency in your home, that your first response is to dial 911. The fire department responds and either renders medical aid to injured or sick victims or attempts to extinguish a blaze or locate and mitigate a problem. It largely depends on the type of emergency and what resources are needed.

But during a disaster, when public utilities such as power, phone service, water or other items, are damaged or lost, 911 may not be available. To compound this problem, access to your home may be blocked, due to down trees, powerlines, water over the roadway or many other factors. Therefore, it is quite possible that should a widespread disaster occur, you may not be able to call 9-1-1. What do you do? Are you prepared to provide basic first aid to a family member, neighbor, or close friend? Can you survive in your home without electricty, water, telephone or heat? Do you have enough food and water to survive for 3 days, 10 days, or even 3 weeks?

Think about those events and ask yourself; “Could that happen here?” In this area, we are most apt to experience an earthquake based upon geographic calculations and past events. But we have also experienced other natural disasters such as flooding, heavy snow, and high winds. So, even though we do not live in places such as, “Tornado Alley” or suffer the large wildland fires such as Eastern Washington, we are very vunerable to both natural and man made disasters. It is also possible that during times of disasters, emergency services such as fire and police, maybe taxed to the limit. Agencies such as the Red Cross, may not be able to respond to this area for days or even weeks.

What Can You Do?

The most common question we hear is “What can I do in the event of an emergency?” Our answer is simple: Prepare for the emergency. In other words, prepare you and your family to deal with an emergency before it happens. We provide education about fire prevention, but we cannot prevent earthquakes, winter storms or floods. But we can learn how to protect ourselves from the elements by a term we call, “Sheltering in Place.” Prepare your home by having an extra supply of food and water should you become stranded and cannot drive to the store. Have a disaster kit that contains an extra supply of medications, bedding, flashlights and tarps should you have to resort in remaining outside. Don’t forget your vehicles. Have a survival kit in your car should you become stranded and cannot reach your destination. This should also contain a spare supply of medications as well as blankets, food and water. There are many other guidelines and suggestions on how to prepare yourselves for that disaster. You can find the answers by going to the Washington State Emergency Management Division.

Disaster Kits (Click for detailed kit checklist)