Press Editorial

March 15, 2011

By Staff

Earthquake in Japan is call to action here

The international effort to help the people of Japan deal with massive catastrophes is gaining ground. We have no doubt that Issaquah families will do what they can, with prayers, finances and volunteer efforts.

But there is something else every family here can do. Prepare.

The shock of the earthquake in Japan is way too close to what could happen here. If you had been ignoring the warnings to get ready for an emergency, now is the time to pay attention.

Yes, there is food and water to be stored, along with basic medical supplies, but there is more to be done.

Many older Issaquah homes — like many of those in the South Cove neighborhoods — were constructed without tie-downs to their foundations. It’s worth exploring whether your home still needs straps to keep your home from sliding off its base.

Check your homeowner’s insurance to know what your policy will cover, and keep a copy of your policy along with other important papers in an accessible place.

Compile a list of phone numbers, or enter them in your cell phone. In case phone lines are down, work out a plan for family members to be able to communicate.

Last, but perhaps the most important, get in touch with your neighbors and work out a community plan. Learn where gas and water shut-off valves are located on each house, and when you should turn off the gas. Arrange to share pet or child or elder care if you or your neighbor is unable to get home.

Go one step further and get emergency preparedness training and become a member of the Issaquah Citizen Corps. A series of classes begins next week and will be offered again in the fall.

Coincidentally, March is American Red Cross Month. Consider becoming a Red Cross volunteer to help in a shelter or provide basic first aid when needed.

But most of all, the Red Cross is using this month to heighten the awareness of the need to take steps toward personal emergency preparedness.

After the 9.0 earthquake in Japan last week, the awareness level should be firmly heightened. Now it’s up to you.

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