Disaster Preparedness for Individuals & Families
Are you ready for a disaster? Ask yourself:
- What hazards can affect my home, workplace, or school?
- Am I able to receive alerts and warnings if hazardous conditions occur?
- Can I communicate with my family and friends if communication systems are disrupted?
- Do I have the emergency supplies I need to survive?
- Do the people I live with know what to do during an emergency?
Learn about hazards
There are many hazards in Washington County that can threaten your safety and wellbeing or damage your home or workplace. We are at risk of winter storms, windstorms, floods, earthquakes, disease outbreaks, and more. Learn more by checking out these resources:
- Washington County Emergency Management's Hazards webpage: www.co.washington.or.us/EmergencyManagement/Hazards/
- Take 5 flyers on Hazards in Washington County, Severe Weather in Summer and Winter, and Earthquake Preparedness
Be informed and connected
Be informed. Have a way to receive alerts and warnings so you can act quickly when a disaster happens.
- A NOAA weather radio can alert you to any type of emergency occurring in your area.
- Tune in to local news for emergency information.
On the go
- Receive alerts on your smartphone. Sign up at PublicAlerts.org. You can also download the free CodeRED app.
- Tune in to local radio on 91.5 FM (OPB) or your preferred news station for emergency information.
Stay connected. Have a communications plan so you can connect with friends and family if a disaster disrupts communication systems.
1. Collect information
Write down phone numbers and email addresses for:
- Everyone in your household
- Local area family and friends
- Contacts at work, school, childcare, and caregivers
2. Identify an out-of-area contact
Pick a friend or relative who lives in another state. Ask them if they will share information in an emergency when everyone calls. Share their phone number with friends and family. Text messages often go through when a phone call won’t.
3. Share the information
Share contact information with your friends and family. Keep the information with you: in your wallet or purse, in a backpack, or somewhere you can easily access it.
Gather two weeks of emergency supplies
Why? A disaster can cut off access to supermarkets and stores where you get food and other supplies. An earthquake can cause stores to be closed for weeks or longer.
How much? Two weeks of emergency supplies will keep you going until help arrives. Luckily, you already have a lot of what you need on hand. Learn more about gathering emergency supplies by reading the Take 5 Emergency Supplies flyer and gather the remaining supplies using the Take 5 Preparedness Calendar.
Plan together and practice
Everyone in your home needs to work together to create a household emergency plan. Each person should have a role and know how to respond during an emergency. Try talking to family during dinner or after a disaster-themed movie night.
Encourage neighbors to prepare. When people work together and share resources, they bounce back faster. Try talking to neighbors by hosting a BBQ or game night.
Identify emergency meeting places.
- Indoor: For times when it isn’t safe to be outdoors like a wind storm or chemical release.
- Outside meeting place: For times when it isn’t safe to be indoors such as a house fire, identify a landmark near your home. Pick a place everyone knows like the mailbox or the neighbor’s house.
- Local area: If a disaster happens when you are not home and you can’t get back there, identify a place away from your house like the home of a friend or family member, a library, or place of worship.
Talk about emergency supplies
Everyone should know where the emergency supplies are kept and how to use them. People in the household can help find places to store water or extra food.
At least once a year, practice your emergency plans together. Below are some ideas for practicing your emergency plans:
- Fire drill: Have everyone evacuate the house and meet at your emergency meeting place. Learn more about fire escape planning at www.nfpa.org/Public-Education/By-topic/Safety-in-the-home/Escape-planning.
- Earthquake: Practice for an earthquake by doing a Drop, Cover, and Hold On drill. Learn more about earthquake safety and the Oregon annual earthquake drill at www.ShakeOut.org/Oregon.
- Communicate: Practice emergency texts and calling your out-of-area contact.
- Annual review: Go through your emergency supplies and discuss how they will be used. Check expiration dates and replace out-of-date items like batteries.
- First aid: Practice CPR and first aid techniques. Want to learn how? Find a first aid, CPR, or AED class near you at https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class.
Non-Emergencies: (503) 629-0111
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