April is opportunity to prepare for emergencies
April 11, 2011
NEW — 8 a.m. April 11, 2011
Eastside Fire & Rescue is reminding residents to plan for emergencies during April, Disaster Preparedness Month.
The magnitude-9 earthquake in Japan last month — plus major earthquakes in Chile and Haiti last year — reminds residents about the seismic risk in the Pacific Northwest.
EFR emergency planners said Disaster Preparedness Month is a good opportunity for residents to practice and learn what to do in at home, school or workplaces.
Planners said knowing what to do in emergencies, developing a family plan and making sure everyone understands the plan is critical to staying safe in a disaster.
Use the following guidelines to prepare for emergency situations or major disasters:
- Know your immediate surroundings. Know the safest places in your home or workplace during earthquakes. Remember: Kitchens and garages tend to be the most-dangerous places in a typical home.
- Know how to exit. Always know how to exit your house and workplace in emergencies. Know the locations of shutoff valves for water, gas and electricity. Learn how to shut off utilities, too.
- Make special provisions for elderly people, disabled people, small children or people using medication. Some people may have difficulty moving around after earthquakes or during emergencies. Plan to have someone help special-needs people to evacuate, if necessary.
- Do not forget special needs. Store several days’ supply of any special foods or medication. You need to make provisions for yourself and your family for a minimum of five to seven days. In addition, having a 72-hour car kit is essential.
- Plan a location to meet. Make a plan about where and how your family should reunite after a disaster, if you become separated. Choose a person outside of the area — preferably someone out-of-state to contact. During and after a disaster, long-distance telephone connections could be restored sooner than local service after a major disaster.
- Connect to your community. Know the policies of your child’s school or day care center. Make plans to have someone pick up your children if you cannot.
For Disaster Preparedness Month, a statewide drop, cover and hold earthquake drill is scheduled for 9:45-10 a.m. April 20, as a part of a regular monthly test of the Emergency Alert System.