September may have been National Preparedness Month, but it’s never too late to ensure that you are fully prepared in case a major natural disaster strikes your area. While California is mainly known as “earthquake country” or a wildfire hot zone, other natural disasters like tsunamis & El Nino have crept into the conversation of emergency planning. And recent weather patterns & alerts have made it clear that both occurrences should be taken very seriously.
In an effort to arm residents with resources & tips to effectively plan for such events, we’ve compiled a list of important numbers & websites on our emergency information page which includes everything from tsunami evacuation routes & local sheriff contact to alert notices & FEMA preparedness. We’ve also listed the top FAQ when preparing for a major disaster (see below).
We encourage you to take action in becoming fully informed & prepared. Officials recommend you have an emergency kit that can last three days (at minimum) at your home, office & car. At work, make sure your team has a game plan with supplies, communication & leadership.
Emergencies are scary enough – the better prepared, the better you’ll be. Spread the love & share this vital information with others!
1) Why should I plan ahead for a disaster?
If a disaster occurs, local government and relief organizations will try to help you. But it is important to be as personally prepared as possible since immediately after an emergency essential services may be cut off. Local disaster relief and government responders may not be able to reach you right away.
2) How should I plan ahead for a disaster?
One of the most important steps you can take to prepare for emergencies is to develop a household disaster plan. Contact your local emergency management office or American Red Cross chapter to learn how to prepare for a potential emergency and how to respond. Talk with employers and school officials about their emergency response plans. Talk with your household about potential emergencies and how to respond to them. Talk about what you would need to do in an evacuation.
- Make a household plan to deal with a sudden emergency. Decide how everyone in your household would stay in contact if you became separated. Identify two meeting places: the first should be near your home; the second should be away from your neighborhood in case you cannot return home.
Pick a friend or relative who lives outside the immediate area to serve as a household telephone contact. In an emergency, local phone connections may not work, but long distance may still function.
Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
Post emergency telephone numbers by telephones. Teach children how and when to call 911.
Make sure everyone in your household knows how and when to shut off water, gas and electricity at the main switches. Consult with your local utilities if you have questions.
Take a first aid and CPR class. Contact your local American Red Cross chapter for more information.
Think about ways you can help neighbors who may need special assistance, such as seniors or people with disabilities.
Make arrangements for your pets. Pets usually are not allowed in public shelters. (Service animals are not pets, and are allowed in shelters.)
Make sure that your health insurance policies are current and meet the needs of your household.
Review any property and life insurance policies. Make sure they are current and that they meet your needs.
Consider depositing some money in an “emergency” savings account that you can use in a crisis. If possible, keep a small amount of cash or traveler’s checks in a safe place at home where you can grab it quickly in case of an evacuation.
3) I have a disability. Is there any special emergency planning I should do?
If you have a disability or special need, you may have to take additional steps to protect yourself and your household in an emergency. If you know of friends or neighbors with special needs, you should help them with these extra precautions. For example:
- Hearing impaired people may need to make special arrangements to receive a warning.
- Mobility impaired people may need help getting to a shelter.
- Households with a single working parent may need help both planning for and responding to emergencies.
- Limited-English speaking people may need help planning for and responding to emergencies.
- People with special dietary needs should make sure they have an adequate emergency food supply. Here are some special measures you can take, depending on your circumstances:
- Find out about special assistance that may be available in your community. Register with the office of emergency services or fire department for help.
- Create a network of neighbors, relatives, friends and coworkers to help you in an emergency. Discuss your needs and make sure they know how to operate necessary equipment.
- Discuss your needs with your employer.
- If you are mobility impaired and live or work in a high-rise building, have an escape chair.
- If you live in an apartment building, ask the manager to mark accessible exits clearly and to make arrangements to help you evacuate the building.
- Keep extra wheelchair batteries, oxygen, catheters, medication, food for guide or hearing-ear dogs, or other items you might need. Also, keep a list of the type and serial numbers of medical devices you need.
- If you are a caregiver for a person with special needs, make sure you have a plan to communicate if an emergency occurs.
4) What materials should I have on hand in case of an emergency?
You should have enough materials to survive on your own for three days or more. This means having your own water, food and emergency supplies. Keep a disaster supply kit with essential food, water and supplies ready to “grab and go” in case you have to leave your home quickly because of a disaster. Use backpacks or duffel bags to keep the supplies together, and make sure all household members know where the kit is kept. You also should have a similar disaster supply kit at work, as well as a car kit with emergency food, water, flares, jumper cables and cold weather equipment.
5) What are the most important items to include in a disaster supply kit?
The most important items are water, food, first-aid supplies, tools and emergency supplies, clothing and bedding. Learn more about building a kit here.
Answers provided by http://www.kingcounty.gov.