12 Tips for 12/12/12 – Twelve Ways to Stay Prepared

Nisqually earthquake debris in Olympia
The 2001 Nisqually Earthquake caused a building debris to fall into the street of downtown Olympia. Make sure you’re prepared for a natural disaster. Photo: Joe Dragovich/DNR.

In honor of our “it only happens once every hundred years” 12/12/12 holiday. We’re bringing you 12 Tips to keep you and your family safe throughout your lifetime. As you spend time with friends and family this holiday season, consider possible emergencies and how to keep everyone you love prepared.

1.       Prepare your trees for winter
Winter storms can do a number on your trees. Downed and damaged trees could fall on your home, your car, a powerline, or even a person. Make sure you follow these tips to keep your trees healthy and better able to resist storm damage this winter.

2.       Identify your hazards
Identify the potential hazards in your home and learn how to fix them. People are often injured or killed in earthquakes by unsecured objects such as bookshelves. Secure anything heavy enough to hurt you if it falls on you, or fragile enough to be a significant loss if it falls.

3.       Learn about natural hazards
Learn about the natural hazards that put your family at risk and what to do if they occur.  Teach your kids what to do and practice your emergency action plan.

4.       Develop an Emergency Action Plan
Make an emergency plan with your family and practice it! Have different plans for different variables. What if your kids are at school or a sports practice? Make sure they know what to do if you can’t be there to help them.

5.       Build a disaster kit
Build different disaster kits for the different needs your family will have. Have a comfort kit in your home with supplies for many days without food or water. Have compact emergency kits in your car for large and small emergencies. Tailor your kit to your needs, including allergy medicine and special items like diapers for babies.

6.       Read disaster news
Keep up to date on new developments and articles from Washington’s Emergency Management Division with Washington’s Disaster News. Keep yourself in the loop so that you and your friends are prepared when disaster strikes.

7.       Get trained and know how to help
The American Red Cross offers courses on emergency response and first aid that could become extremely valuable in the event of an emergency. Know how to recognize the signs of shock or trauma that may not be easily detected without proper training. Learn CPR and you might save a life.

8.       Be prepared for evacuation
Last summer’s wildfire season left a lot of Washington residents on edge. The scary truth is, a natural disasters may force you to flee your home in a hurry. Remember these “P’s of Preparedness” and make sure your family knows what to do if evacuations are ordered.

9.       Get Firewise
Learn about the Firewise Communities Program that helps communities get prepared and prevent wildfires from becoming disasters. This program encourages local solutions for wildfire safety by involving homeowners, community leaders, planners, developers, firefighters, and others in the effort to protect people and property from wildfire risks.

10.   Know about your region
Whether you moved to Washington just months ago or you’ve lived here all your life, it’s a good idea to refresh your knowledge of Washington State’s potential hazards and understand how quickly conditions can change.

11.   Identify your local Emergency Management agency
Make sure you know who your local emergency management agency is and spend some time familiarizing yourself with their website and policies. Local emergency managers will have information specific to your region and its risks.

12.   Prepare in a year
In just one hour a month you could prepare your family for disaster by following the activities laid out in the Washington Emergency Management Division’s Prepare in a Year program.

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