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Safe in the Sound

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Whether it’s Old Man Winter, a natural or man-made disaster, unplanned catastrophes can catch anyone unaware.

So when the unexpected happens, be ready. That doesn’t mean making a quick trip to the store to buy supplies the day of. It means being prepared with both supplies and a plan, several of them in fact.

Here are a few tips to get you started.

The right supplies

The American Red Cross and Puget Sound Energy have teamed up for the Safe in the Sound campaign. Over the next three years, their goal is to ensure at least one member of every household in Western Washington is prepared to respond to a disaster. That’s at least 1 million people.

Beginning with supplies, the organizations recommend the preparation of two kits, one for personal use and one for the entire family.

Personal kits should contain three days of supplies in a bag or backpack. Keep one at home, one in your car and one at work. Think of it as having three is better than having none.

A family kit should have at least two weeks of supplies for the entire family. Store it in a sturdy container and keep it at home.

All kits, whether they be for the family or just you, should contain three essential items: water — one gallon for each individual per day with a minimum of thee days — a week’s worth of non-perishable food and a first aid kit.

• Additional items should include:

• Flashlights or light sticks

• Radios

• Extra batteries

• Copies of important documents and a map

• Family contact information

• Hygiene items, tools, toys and comfort items

• Digital photos of pets to help with reunification

Make plans

Another essential preparation is to create a plan. Begin by talking with your family, identify roles of each person, speak with childcare providers and connect with employers and coworkers.

Next, the actual plan should identify two exits from each room in your home, an out-of-area phone contact, and what will be done, where to meet up following an incident in various events and how.

Finally, practice earthquake, fire and city evacuation drills at least twice a year. It will ensure that all your plans go as smoothly as possible.

Other means of preparation include:

• Post emergency telephone numbers and your location by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.)

• Teach children how and when to call 911 or your local Emergency Medical Services number for emergency help.

• Determine the best escape routes from your home, especially from upper floors.

• Find the safe spots in your home for each type of disaster.

• Show each family member how and when to turn off the water, gas and electricity at the main switches.

• Check if you have adequate insurance coverage.

• Teach each family member how to use the fire extinguisher, and show them where it’s kept.

• Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.

• Conduct a home hazard hunt.

• Stock emergency supplies and assemble a disaster supplies kit.

• Download smartphone apps to stay prepared and ready to respond.

Pooch prep

Finally, just as humans require essential items to survive, so do pets. Emergencies can require responding at a moment’s notice and it is critical to have a kit ready for your pet in these situations. Keep a container that is easy to grab-and-go with at least 3 days of survival items for your animal. Your pet’s kit should include:

• Water

• Food

• Folding bowls

• Cat litter/pan

• Manual can opener

• Pet identification and current photos of your pet for use in the event they are lost

• Contact information for your pet’s veterinarian

• Medical records in waterproof containers

• Pet’s leash, harness and/or carriers to transport pets safely

• Blankets, toys and comfort items

• List of pet boarding locations

Know which friends, relatives, boarding facilities, animal shelters or veterinarians can care for your animals in an emergency and prepare a list with phone numbers.

For more information about disaster preparation, safeinthesound.org, redcross.org and ready.gov

 

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