Every Wednesday we will release a new scenario that you may face and instructions on what to do. Each scenario is used to make you think about preparedness and how to take care of yourself and others. These scenarios will help you get ready for any situation.
WHAT IF a disaster happens and you find yourself trapped in a building or under debris?
If you are trapped following a disaster you need attract attention to yourself. This can be done in a variety of ways:
WHAT IF you live on a bluff?
Those that live on a bluff have to be aware of their landslide risk. This is also relevant for anyone that visits local beaches. Our bluffs are at risk for a landslide so it is important to be aware of the signs.
Watch for slow-moving landslides, or earthflows, that pose threats to property:
WHAT IF you are enjoying a day at the beach when a tsunami happens?
If there is an earthquake and you are in a tsunami area, protect yourself from the earthquake first.
WHAT IF you are having a 4th of July party and someone brings fireworks?
Fireworks are dangerous. Safety should be your top priority over the holiday weekend. The US Fire Administration recommends going to see a public show instead of lighting fireworks off at home.
Here are a few safety tips to follow if you plan to use fireworks:
WHAT IF we experienced a disaster and you ran out of water?
Before an emergency you want to store 1 gallon of water per person per day. We recommend having 2 weeks of emergency supplies ready. If you find yourself without fresh drinking water during an emergency we have a few ways to survive.
Methods to Treat Your Water:
Island County Water in an Emergency
WHAT IF an earthquake occurred while you were sleeping in bed?
An under the bed kit is quick and easy to put together! If you wake up to an earthquake you should roll onto your stomach and cover your head with your pillow. Once shaking stops you may need to assess damage and/or evacuate. An under the bed kit consists of items you need to stay safe. We recommend a pair of shoes, gloves, and flashlight. Find an old pair of shoes then stick a pair of gloves in one and a flashlight in the other. Of course you can add more items if you want! Your supplies can come in handy for other situations as well.
PIY Under Bed.pdf
WHAT IF we experienced another heat wave?
With summer on the horizon, it is time to think about high temperatures and how you will stay safe in high temps. Here are some tips to make it through high temperatures:
Signs: Muscle pains or spasms in the stomach, arms or legs.
Signs: heavy sweating, paleness, muscle cramps, tiredness, weakness, dizziness, headache, fainting, nausea.
Knowing how to stay cool during the heat and the signs to watch for, you can beat the heat this summer!
WHAT IF items in your home injured you during an earthquake?
During an earthquake, items can shift and fall down which can cause injuries to anyone nearby. It is very important to make sure your furniture is anchored to the wall. You also want to make sure to child proof your cabinets so items can't fall onto you. A home hazard hunt is a great way to identify any issues in your home and remedy them. You might need to consider the age of your home as well.
Remember in an earthquake to Drop, Cover, and Hold on.
Check out this Home Hazard Hunt Document: PIY Home Hazard Hunt.pdf
Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt.pdf
WHAT IF you needed to get assistance after a disaster but didn't have your important financial documents?
Insurance paperwork, bank account numbers, birth certificates, and social security cards are all important documents that you need to keep safe. Following a disaster you might need certain account numbers. I recommend scanning all of your important documents and keeping them on an external drive in your go bag. You can also keep hard copies at home in a fire proof box or pouch.
Important documents may include:
Emergency Financial First Aid Kit.pdf
WHAT IF you needed to shut off your utilities in an emergency?
After a disaster it is likely that a utility pipe could break and start leaking. This could lead to flooding or fires. It is extremely important for you to know how to shut off each of your utilities, the tools required, and where your shut off is located.
WHAT IF you were isolated in your home for 2 weeks?
A home kit is the largest kit you should create. This should sustain your family for ATLEAST 2 weeks. As an island community we could be isolated for awhile before help arrives. This week we want you to start your home kit.
Items to include in your kit:
Not only do you need to build a kit but you need to maintain it. Here are our tips:
WHAT IF communications were down following a disaster and you couldn't reach your family?
Following a disaster phone lines might be down or overwhelmed, this will leave you unable to make a phone call. How will you contact your loved ones to find out if they are ok?
This is why creating a family communications plan is important!
Use this template to create your plan.
Remember when creating a plan to:
WHAT IF a disaster struck and you needed to leave quickly?
We don't expect to be in a situation where we need to quickly leave, but it can happen and we need to be ready. Imagine you are sitting at home when an evacuation order hits, maybe there is a fire close by or a storm that forces us to leave our home. You would need to be ready to leave within minutes. This is a situation where you should have a go bag ready.
A go bag is a pre-packed bag with things you need to stay comfortable in case you need to evacuate immediately. Your go bag should be easy to carry and accessible. Every go bag is different, your go bag has to be packed with your needs in mind. Here is a general checklist of items:
WHAT IF a disaster happened and you couldn't contact your children?
This can be a scary thought for parents... an earthquake just occurred, your kids might be at school or daycare. Phone lines would be tied up and you might not be able to reach them. This is why you need to prepare with your kids ahead of time. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Don’t forget to think about specific needs in your family. Your family’s needs change over time, so update your plan regularly.
Here's how you can plan:
WHAT IF a disaster happened and you couldn't get home to your pets?
After a disaster, roads may be damaged or blocked. This might prevent you from getting home. It is time to make a plan for your pets in the case of a disaster. If you are unable to get home to your pets:
Here are a few additional things to plan:
Just like we create emergency supplies for ourselves, you want to create one for your pet. Here are some items to include:
WHAT IF the power went out while you are at work or home?
Power outages are fairly common in Island County. We experience high wind and severe storms often. In fact, just this week we had high winds that took out power to most of Whidbey and Camano. A power outage can last for a few minutes or a few weeks depending on the damage. Power outages may disrupt communications, water, transport, stores, and banks. They may also cause food spoilage, water contamination, or prevent the use of medical equipment. We recommend making sure you have necessary items with you for these situations.
WHAT IF you received an alert on your phone? Do you know the difference between watch, warning, and advisory?
Notice how a watch lets you know that the conditions are favorable to an event while a warning lets you know that the event is now expected. These alerts can pertain to all sorts of hazards such as: tsunamis, winter storms, high winds, etc.
What to do when you receive it: Follow the instructions in the alert. Typically at the end of the alert there will be advice on what to do. For a watch you want to be aware that conditions may worsen. For an advisory you want to start thinking about your plan for the situation. For a warning you want to take action (evacuate, shelter in place, etc.).
WHAT IF: you are in the vicinity of an active shooter?
WHAT IF: you receive a suspicious package in the mail?
Things to look for in a suspicious letter or package may include inappropriate or unusual labeling, such as
Other indicators include an unusual or inappropriate appearance, including
If you find a suspicious item (letter or package)
WHAT IF: you get a message on your phone, radio, or loudspeaker to shelter-in-place due to a chemical spill?
Sometimes the safest thing to do during an emergency is to just stay put and shelter in place. Where and how you do this depends on the kind of emergency. It may be due to a chemical release, such as in this scenario, or due to a release of biological or radiological contaminants. It may also be due to other hazards such as earthquakes, flooding, high winds, storms, or an active shooter.
For this chemical spill scenario, specific procedures for shelter-in-place at your workplace or home may include the following:
For more information on sheltering-in-place you can click here to view the FEMA "Shelter-in-Place pictograph.
PIY Shelter In Place.pdf
WHAT IF: you are sitting at work or home and all of a sudden an explosion happens? What would you do?
If an explosion occurs:
If trapped in debris:
If there is a fire:
If there is a building collapse: