What’s your plan if a disaster strikes?

Disaster recovery kits
Putting together a personal recovery kit for the first few days after a major disaster is one of 12 activities you can do now to be better prepared for when an earthquake or other type of disaster strikes. Photo: American Red Cross.

What’s your plan of action if a major earthquake occurs in your area? One of the goals of Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month (October) is for everyone — businesses, schools, families and individuals — to have a plan of action in case a major disaster strikes. Here in Washington State, we are at risk for many types of natural disasters, including earthquakes, wind storms, landslides, volcanoes… the list goes on.

A plan of action is especially important to stay safe during the first 48 to 72 hours (sometimes longer) after a major disaster because emergency officials may be overwhelmed with requests for help. That’s where an action plan can help you. The Washington Emergency Management Division (EMD) lists the elements of creating an effective action plan, and 11 other steps that you can take now to get prepared for the worst. Or, follow EMD’s Prepare in a Year approach by spending just an hour a month to complete each of the 12 steps so that by this time next year you’ll be much better prepared.

The Great Shake Out

Washington DNR and many other public agencies, schools, private businesses and individuals are taking part in The Great Washington Shakeout “drop, cover and hold on” earthquake drill at 10:17 a.m. on October 17. The drill aims to emphasize the need for everyone to practice what to do to be safe during and after an earthquake, and how to be ready before an earthquake strikes. In addition, many coastal communities will test their tsunami alert sirens on October 17. Organizers with the state Military Department’s Emergency Management Division are aiming for one million Washingtonians to participate in the earthquake drill.


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