Is your family prepared for an emergency?

questions-2245264_1920Family Emergency Plan

There’s been a series of small (3.4 ish) quakes in Kitsap County over the past few days and although I choose to believe these small quakes are relieving pressure and staving off the ‘big one,’ it’s prompted me to review our emergency plan.

After my divorce 3 years ago I went through a disaster preparedness phase. It was part of my process in establishing my new head of household position. I needed to feel secure and prepared. For the most part, on a nominal level, I think we are. Are you?

There are a lot of wonderful resources online, but I thought I’d share some of the simple steps we’ve taken in case it helps anyone else. Scroll to the bottom for links to kits and printable plans. It’s a good idea to review your plan with your family.

Protect yourself during a quake

(the following tips are from

Protect YourselfIf you are inside a building:

  • Stay where you are until the shaking stops. Do not run outside. Do not get in a doorway as this does not provide protection from falling or flying objects, and you may not be able to remain standing.
  • Drop down onto your hands and knees so the earthquake doesn’t knock you down. Drop to the ground (before the earthquake drops you!)
  • Cover your head and neck with your arms to protect yourself from falling debris.
    • If you are in danger from falling objects, and you can move safely, crawl for additional cover under a sturdy desk or table.
    • If there is low furniture or an interior wall or corner nearby, and the path is clear, these may also provide some additional cover.
    • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall, such as light fixtures or furniture.
  • Hold on to any sturdy covering so you can move with it until the shaking stops. Stay where you are until the shaking stops.

If getting safely to the floor to take cover won’t be possible:

  • Identify an inside corner of the room away from windows and objects that could fall on you.  The Earthquake Country Alliance advises getting as low as possible to the floor. People who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices should lock their wheels and remain seated until the shaking stops. Protect your head and neck with your arms, a pillow, a book, or whatever is available.

If you are in bed when you feel the shaking:

  • If you are in bed: Stay there and Cover your head and neck with a pillow. At night, hazards and debris are difficult to see and avoid; attempts to move in the dark result in more injuries than remaining in bed.

If you are outside when you feel the shaking:

  • If you are outdoors when the shaking starts, move away from buildings, streetlights, and utility wires. Once in the open, “Drop, Cover, and Hold On.” Stay there until the shaking stops. This might not be possible in a city, so you may need to duck inside a building to avoid falling debris.

If you are in a moving vehicle when you feel the shaking:

  • If you are in a moving vehicle, stop as quickly and safely as possible and stay in the vehicle. Avoid stopping near or under buildings, trees, overpasses, and utility wires. Proceed cautiously once the earthquake has stopped. Avoid roads, bridges, or ramps that the earthquake may have damaged.
  • When the shaking stops, look around. If there is a clear path to safety, leave the building and go to an open space away from damaged areas.
  • If you are trapped, do not move about or kick up dust.
  • If you have a cell phone with you, use it to call or text for help.
  • Tap on a pipe or wall or use a whistle, if you have one, so that rescuers can locate you.
  • Once safe, monitor local news reports via battery operated radio, TV, social media, and cell phone text alerts for emergency information and instructions.
  • Be prepared to “Drop, Cover, and Hold on” in the likely event of aftershocks.

If you need to flee during or after the emergency

Family Emergency PlanStore an easy ‘grab &  go’ emergency kit under each family member’s bed. Make sure an extra pair of shoes and a flashlight are next to it. I’ve stored a back pack under each of our beds with a 72 hour kit in each pack and emergency contact information.

Agree on two meeting points:

  • One specific spot on your property (our backyard is off limits – too many trees – so we’ve opted for the cul de sac in front of our house).
  • The other in town in case any of you aren’t home and can’t get home (we’ve opted to meet at the flag pole at the high school, which is in within walking distance of our house).

Here’s a link to a good emergency contact plan:

Here’s a link to the kits I purchased:

I also have a family pack in our car:

If you need to stay and are stuck without power or access to food

Make sure you have food storage for at least two weeks in case you are stuck without power or a way to leave. After tossing out our rations twice upon exceeding expiration dates, I finally opted to purchase an easy to access emergency food bucket with a 20 year shelf life.

Here’s the food storage bin I opted for:

The great thing about the supplies listed above is that they are easy to transport and/or move with and they store easily.

Happy planning and stay safe!



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