Liz Jessee, Interim Director
Family Emergency Preparedness
The next time disaster strikes, you may not have much time to act. Prepare now for a sudden emergency. Learn how to protect yourself and cope with disaster by planning ahead. This checklist will help you get started. Discuss these ideas with your family, then prepare an emergency plan. Post the plan where everyone will see it — on the refrigerator or a bulletin board.
- Take a basic first aid and CPR class.
- Find out which disasters could occur in your area. Refer to the Walla Walla County Hazard Identification and Vulnerability Assessment (HIVA).
- Prepare for each potential disaster.
- Create a Family Emergency Preparedness Plan.
- Consider emergency preparedness for elderly or disabled persons.
- Ask your workplace about emergency plans.
- Learn about emergency plans for your children’s school or day care center.
Create an Emergency Plan:
- Meet with household members. Discuss with children the dangers of fire, severe weather, earthquakes, and other emergencies.
- Discuss how to respond to each disaster that could occur.
- Discuss what to do about power outages and personal injuries.
- Draw a floor plan of your home. Mark two escape routes from each room.
- Learn how to turn off the water, gas, and electricity at main switches.
- Post emergency telephone numbers near telephones.
- Teach children how and when to call 911, police, and fire.
- Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information.
- Pick one out-of-state and one local friend or relative for family members to call if separated by disaster (it is often easier to call out-of-state than within the affected area).
- Teach children how to make long distance telephone calls.
Pick two meeting places.
1. A place near your home in case of a fire.
2. A place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster.
Prepare a Disaster Supplies Kit/72-Hour Kit:
Chances are you will have to rely upon supplies you have available in your home for at least the first three days following any major disaster. Store these items in something that is portable and easily carried:
- Water - one gallon per person per day - store water in sealed, unbreakable containers - identify the storage date and replace every six months
- Food - ready to eat, non-perishable, high protein, high calorie foods such as peanut butter, canned meats, energy bars, canned fruits, vegetables, etc.
- First Aid Kit and First Aid Reference Guide
- Portable battery-operated radio and spare batteries
- Flashlights and spare batteries and/or glow sticks
- List of emergency contact phone numbers
- Blankets or sleeping bags, extra clothing, sturdy shoes and gloves
- Non-electric can opener
- Small fire extinguisher (A-B-C type)
- Three-day supply of medications, extra eyeglasses, hearing aids, etc.
- Copies of important documents (birth certificates, insurance papers)
- Personal toiletries and comfort items such as toys and books
- Map of local area in case evacuation to shelters is necessary
- Crescent wrench or multi-purpose tool for utility shut-off
- Cash and coins for emergency purchase and pay phones
- Emergency supplies for your pets
- Special items for infants, elderly, or disabled family members
In a fire or other emergency, you may need to evacuate your house, apartment, or mobile home on a moment’s notice. You should be ready to get out fast.
Develop an escape plan by drawing a floor plan of your residence. Using a black or blue pen, show the location of doors, windows, stairways, and large furniture. Indicate the location of emergency supplies (Disaster Supplies Kit), fire extinguishers, smoke detectors, collapsible ladders, first aid kits, and utility shut off points. Next, use a colored pen to draw a broken line charting at least two escape routes from each room. Finally, mark a place outside of the home where household members should meet in case of fire. Be sure to include important points outside, such as garages, patios, stairways, elevators, driveways, and porches. If your home has more than two floors, use an additional sheet of paper. Practice emergency evacuation drills with all household members at least two times each year.
Home Hazard Hunt:
- In a disaster, ordinary items in the home can cause injury and damage. Anything that can move, fall, break, or cause a fire is a potential hazard.
- Repair defective electrical wiring and leaky gas connections.
- Fasten shelves securely.
- Place large, heavy objects on lower shelves.
- Hang pictures and mirrors away from beds
- Brace overhead light fixtures.
- Secure water heater. Strap to wall studs.
- Repair cracks in ceilings or foundations.
- Store weed killers, pesticides, and flammable products away from heat sources.
- Place oily polishing rags or waste in covered metal cans.
- Clean and repair chimneys, flue pipes, vent connectors, and gas vents.
If You Need to Evacuate:
- Listen to a battery-powered radio for the location of emergency shelters.
- Follow instructions of local officials.
- Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
- Take your Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Lock your home.
- Use travel routes specified by local officials.
If There is Time:
- Shut off water, gas, and electricity, if instructed to do so.
- Let others know when you left and where you are going.
- Make arrangements for pets. Animals are not be allowed in public shelters.
Prepare an Emergency Car Kit Include:
- Battery powered radio and extra batteries
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Booster cables
- Fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type)
- First aid kit and manual
- Bottled water and non-perishable high energy foods, such as granola bars, raisins and peanut butter.
- Tire repair kit and pump
Fire Safety :
- Plan two escape routes out of each room.
- Teach family members to stay low to the ground when escaping from a fire.
- Teach family members never to open doors that are hot. In a fire, feel the bottom of the door with the palm of your hand. If it is hot, do not open the door. Find another way out.
- Install smoke detectors. Clean and test smoke detectors once a month.
- Change batteries at least once a year.
- Keep a whistle in each bedroom to awaken household members in case of fire.
- Check electrical outlets. Do not overload outlets.
- Purchase a fire extinguisher (5 lb., A-B-C type).
- Have a collapsible ladder on each upper floor of your house.
- Consider installing home sprinklers.
Learn How to Shelter-In-Place
- Rather than evacuating, you may be asked by officials to Shelter-In Place.
Drop, Cover, and Hold On
Federal, State, and local emergency management experts and other official preparedness organizations all agree that "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" is the appropirate action to reduce injury and death during earthquakes.
You cannot tell from the initial shaking if an earthquake will
suddenly become intense…so always Drop, Cover, and Hold On
- DROP to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!),
- Take COVER by getting under a sturdy desk or table, and
- HOLD ON to your shelter and be prepared to move with it until the shaking stops.
If there is no table or desk near you, drop to the ground and then if possible move to an inside corner of the room. Be in a crawling position to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary, and cover your head and neck with your hands and arms.
Do not move to another location or outside. Earthquakes occur without any warning and may
be so violent that you cannot run or crawl. You are more likely to be injured if you try to move
around during strong shaking. Also, you will never know if the initial jolt will turn out to be start
of the big one…and that’s why you should always Drop, Cover, and Hold On immediately!
If you are unable to Drop, Cover, and Hold On: If you have difficulty getting safely to the floor on your own, get as low as possible, protect our head and neck, and move away from windows or other items that can fall on you.
In a wheelchair: Lock your wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Always protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.
Visit www.dropcoverholdon.org for more information.
One hour of disaster preparedness activity each month will help you be be ready for disasters whenever they occur. Click here to access all of the Prepare in a Year activities.