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Island County > Emergency Management > Family Preparedness


When preparing your family for disaster, prepare to be on your own for at least three days. Chances are likely that after a major disaster, traditional emergency response teams will be too busy to provide immediate care to you or your family.

The Plan

  • Have at least a three-day supply of food, water, clothes, medical supplies and other necessary equipment for everyone in your family.
  • Decide where and when to reunite your family should you be apart when a disaster happens.
  • Locate shutoff valves for water, gas, and electricity. Learn how to shut off the valves
  • Choose a person outside the immediate area to contact if family members are separated. Long distance phone service will probably be restored sooner than local service. Do not use the phone immediately following a disaster.
  • Keep a small amount of extra cash available. If the power is out, ATM machines will not operate.
  • Keep an extra pair of eyeglasses, house keys and car keys on hand.
  • If you have a family member who does not speak English, prepare an emergency card written in English indicating that persons identification, address and any special needs such as medication or allergies. Tell that person to keep the card with them at all times.
  • Conduct earthquake and fire drills once every six months.
  • Know the safe spots in each room.
  • Make copies of your vital records and store them in a safe deposit box in another city or state. Make sure your originals are stored safely.
  • Establish all the possible ways to exit your home. Keep all exits clear of debris.
  • Know the locations of the nearest fire and police stations.
  • Take photos and videotapes of your home and your valuables. Make copies and place them in a safe deposit box in another city or state.
  • Make sure all family members know about your disaster plan. Also, relay this information to babysitters or others who might be in your home.
  • Know the policies of the school and daycare your children attend.
  • Make sure your child's school emergency release card is up to date. Designate others to pick up your child should you be unable to pick them up.

General Tips:

Stay away from heavy furniture, appliances, large glass panes, shelves holding objects, and large decorative masonry, brick or plaster such as fireplaces.

  • Keep all hallways clear. Hallways are usually one of the safest places to be in an earthquake.
  • Stay away from kitchens and garages, which tend to be the most dangerous places because of the many items kept there.