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Basic Preparedness  

The Basics

Disaster preparedness is an important topic for families to discuss, yet it can be overwhelming. This can lead to discouragement and then nothing gets accomplished. In a pamphlet produced by Group Health Cooperative and the Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division, four basic steps are provided for a successful disaster preparedness plan:

1. Find Out What Disasters Could Happen to You

2. Create a Disaster Plan

  • Find out the best things to do in each disaster situation that might occur here. Teach your family what to do and go over it often. Include plans on what to do for the elderly, disabled and pets.
  • Make a list of emergency contacts and places to gather in case of separation. Post one by the phone, and give a copy to family members to put in their purse or wallet. Pick an out-of-town friend or relative to be the family contact person since it is usually easier to call outside of the local area.
  • Pick two places to gather, one right outside your home in case of fire, and one outside your neighborhood in case family members cannot get home.
  • Create a disaster supplies kit that will be ready to grab in case of evacuation, and start storing food and water for in home use during a disaster.

3. Put Your Plan Into Action

  • Go over your home and check for possible hazards and determine what you can do to make your home safer.
  • Make sure there is a smoke detector on every level of your home.
  • Teach your family members how to use a fire extinguisher and tell everyone where it is kept.
  • Learn how to turn off your utilities and teach your family how to do it as well.
  • Plan evacuation routes for your home, as well as two (if possible) escape routes from each room.
  • Take a first aid and CPR class. Teach your family first aid.
  • Determine which areas in your home are the safest for each type of disaster that could occur, and let everyone else know where to go in each situation.

4. Practice and Maintain Your Plan

  • Review your plan every six months. Make updates as needed.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills periodically.
  • Test and refill your fire extinguishers according to instructions by manufacturer. Test your smoke detectors monthly. Change the batteries every six months and dust off the detector when you change the batteries.
  • Replace stored water and food every six months, and replace any food as you use it.

Creating a List of Emergency Contacts For Your Family

In the midst of emergencies or disasters, easy access to important phone numbers can make a crucial difference to your family's peace of mind and safety. Write a list of numbers and post one by each phone in the house. Give a copy to each family member. Post one on the refrigerator. Put a copy with your disaster supplies and kits. Update the list if phone numbers or contacts change.

One important thing to put on your list is a number for an out-of-area contact. This person can be the checkpoint for your family, because it is usually easier to get through on long distance lines during emergencies. Local lines may have been disrupted and are usually tied up. Tell everyone in your family to call this contact to check in if they are away from home during the emergency. Here are some other numbers and contacts to put on your list:

  • A local contact
  • Nearest relative
  • Family work numbers
  • Police Department
  • Fire Department
  • Hospital
  • Doctor
  • Schools
  • Neighbors
  • Day care
  • Insurance agents
  • Pet caretaker
  • Veterinarian
  • Utilities companies

Something else that is important to include on your list is the location of a family meeting place. Choose a place to meet right outside your home in case of fire, and choose another location outside of your neighborhood in case there are family members who cannot return home.


Contact Information:

Tukwila City Hall
6200 Southcenter Blvd.
Tukwila, WA 98188-2544

Phone: 206 433-1800
Fax: 206 433-1833
Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

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