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Week 4

Make a "Go Bag" for emergency sheltering.

By Darrell Dorr
March 22, 2017

Emergency shelters will be opened when people are displaced from their homes. In many areas emergency shelters are operated by the American Red Cross. Here’s what to anticipate if you must go to a Red Cross shelter.

The Red Cross will provide:

  • A cot to sleep on
  • Meals and bottled water
  • A nurse for basic medical care
  • Information (from public officials) about the disaster

You may need to bring:

  • Pillow and blanket
  • Identification
  • Change of clothes
  • Playing cards or magazines
  • Comfort items
  • Your medications and medical supplies (or a list of medications you’re taking, dosage, and doctor names)

Not allowed at the shelter:

  • Weapons and alcohol
  • Pets (other than service animals)

Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation route in case a designated pet shelter is not available. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter to ask if pet emergency shelters will be opened in a disaster.

The Red Cross will never provide information about you to anyone without your permission. There is never any charge for emergency sheltering.



Week 3

Plan what to do if you have to evacuate.

By Darrell Dorr
March 15, 2017

If fire, earthquake or another disaster should require you and your family to quickly evacuate your home, what would you do? What would you bring? Where would you go? Although some of your later planning may be in consultation with neighbors, for example, in a Map Your Neighborhood plan, you can begin to do individual and household planning now.


Choose two places for your family to meet. One should be right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, such as a fire. The other should be outside of your neighborhood, in case you cannot return home or are asked to evacuate.

Decide where you would go and what route you would take to get there. You may choose to go to a hotel, stay with friends or family in a safe location, or go to a shelter. Hold evacuation drills at home. Practice getting out of the house quickly, and drive your planned evacuation route. The more you practice, the more confident you will be if you really have to evacuate.

Plan ahead for your pets. Due to health concerns, pets are not allowed in Red Cross shelters. Keep a phone list of pet-friendly hotels and animal shelters that are along your evacuation route in case a designated pet shelter is not available. Contact your local humane society or animal shelter to ask if pet emergency shelters will be opened in a disaster.

Week 2

Learn how to safely shelter in place.

By Darrell Dorr
March 8, 2017

In a disaster like a chemical spill, authorities may tell you to “shelter in place.” This means to make the place where you are a safe place to stay until the danger has passed. “Shelter in place” orders are given when it would be dangerous for you to go outside.

Notifications may come to you in a variety of ways. Emergency responders may use warning sirens, or go door-to-door in affected areas, or use loudspeakers from police or fire vehicles. They’ll also broadcast information on TV and radio, using the Emergency Alert System. (Among other options, Snohomish County Emergency Management will utilize KIRO 710 AM, KRKO 1380 AM and FM 95.3, and KXA 1520 and FM 101.1.) 

So what to do in an incident like the spill of hazardous materials? First, get information. If you have electrical power, turn on the TV. If you don’t have electricity, use your battery-powered or hand-crank-radio to find out if your area is affected and what steps to take. Never call 911 to get information about such incidents; only call 911 if you’re injured or need assistance.

If you’re told to shelter in place, first close all doors and windows, and shut off fans and air conditioners. Then take your family to a room with as few doors and windows as possible. You may be told to put towels or tape around the cracks of the windows and doors. Follow emergency instructions carefully. Make sure you take your portable radio with you so that you’ll know when the danger has passed; power in your area may be shut off during the incident.



Week 1

Identify the best storm shelter in your home

By Darrell Dorr
March 1, 2017

This month we focus on sheltering, once again drawing liberally from the Do1Thing site.

In a disaster, you may be asked by authorities to either shelter-in-place or evacuate. In the confusion it could be difficult to focus on what you need to do, so begin now to think about what to do to keep your household safe. Practice your safety plans; if your household has practiced, you’ll be more comfortable doing it when the disaster hits.

Choosing the best place in your home or workplace to shelter from high winds isn’t always easy. Many newer buildings don’t have a really good shelter area. Use these rules of thumb to find the best windstorm shelter possible:

  • Stay away from windows and skylights.
  • Shelter “down and in.” Put as many walls between yourself and the outside as you can. (Think of the ceiling as a wall.)
  • Avoid rooms with large ceiling expanses.
  • Find an area large enough for everyone to stay comfortably for at least 45 minutes.
  • If you are advised (e.g., in radio broadcasts) to evacuate, do so. Otherwise, stay inside and away from windows until the storm has completely passed.



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