Be prepared in case of a serious emergency

Published on Wed, Dec 19, 2012 by Ian Ferguson

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Scientists warn us that global warming will be accompanied by unpredictable extreme weather events. Hurricane Sandy is just the latest reminder that these catastrophic events are happening with greater frequency and impact. 

While those of us living on the West Coast may be safe from hurricanes, it doesn’t mean that we are safe from all hazards. Earthquakes, floods, wind and ice storms are all potential disasters that can strike our region with little or no warning. The folks at the American Red Cross remind us we need to be prepared to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us.

At the November Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce meeting, Red Cross volunteer speaker Anne Isenhart provided members with tips on how to handle serious emergencies.

Isenhart outlined the three principles of emergency preparedness recommended by the Red Cross for a home or business: Get a kit, make a plan and be informed.
Get a kit

Emergency kits should include, at the minimum: 
  • One gallon of water per person, per day, with a minimum three-day supply
  • Non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food
  • Flashlight with batteries
  • Battery-powered or hand-crank radio, or a NOAA Weather Radio
  • Extra batteries
  • First-aid kit
  • Seven day supply of medications and medical items
  • Multi-purpose tool
  • Sanitation and personal hygiene items
  • Copies of personal documents (medication lists, proof of address, deed/lease to home, passports, birth certificates, insurance policies)
  • Cell phone with chargers
  • Family and emergency contact information
  • Extra cash
  • Emergency blanket
  • Map(s) of the area

Make a plan

A plan of action in case of any kind of emergency should be discussed and understood by all members of the family. Families should discuss plans of response for the types of disasters that are most likely to occur where they live. 

In the case of Birch Bay or Blaine residents, those include storms, fires, flooding, earthquakes and tsunamis.

Be Informed

Identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster, whether through TV, radio, text alert, or e-mail. 

Know the difference between weather alerts and warnings, and what actions to take in each. 

Learn and practice how to respond during emergencies. It’s a good idea to have at least one family member with  CPR and first-aid training so there is help on hand when an emergency strikes.

The Red Cross offers classes, and more information is available at