Emergency Preparedness

Emergency preparedness is essential. Emergency services agencies advise you to have two weeks of supplies on hand for every household member as you could experience extended power outages and other emergencies due to storms, earthquakes, fire, and more. Additionally, winter preparedness has unique considerations when you can expect cold, snow, power outages, and hazardous driving conditions. The key to being safe lies in planning ahead.  

Island Senior Resources provides the following information but always suggests you consult with local emergency services for additional information.

Plan ahead

  • What is essential for your daily living to be safe, fed, and warm if no one can reach you during an emergency?
  • Do you have a backup plan for life-sustaining medical devices if there are interruptions in power?
  • Do you have medications and medical supplies you might need for as long as two weeks?
  • Who can you call for assistance (friends, neighbors, relatives), and could they reach you?
  • How will you keep your phone charged?
  • If you are caring for someone with special needs, have you planned for their care?
  • Do you know where your closest warming shelter is, and have you planned how to get there?
  • Do you have copies of important documents in a packet that is easy to grab and go?
  • Do you know your escape route if you need to leave your home?
  • Have you assembled what you need if you have to evacuate swiftly?
  • Do you have medical supplies on hand if you have to treat yourself or others?

Reaching out for help

Aside from being prepared, you need to be able to reach out for help. Be sure to: 

  • List emergency contact numbers and keep them by your phone. (family, friends, neighbors, your doctors, veterinarian)
  • Get a Vial of LIFE at Island Senior Resources Bayview or Island Senior Resources Oak Harbor, complete the forms inside, and follow instructions on where to place it in your refrigerator and where to put signs to notify emergency personnel of your medical conditions.
  • Keep Island Senior Resources’ phone number handy for requesting assistance:(360) 321-1600 or (360) 678-3373.
  • Contact https://www.islandcountywa.gov/472/Winter-Storms. For information on winter storms, earthquakes, Tsunamis, landslides, windstorms, wildfires, flooding, extreme heat, and more.

Supplies to have on hand

(if it’s too much to gather or purchase these all at once, then get a few each month until you have them all): 

  • First aid kit
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-operated radio with extra batteries
  • cell phone with charger and a fully charged backup battery supply
  • whistle to signal for help
  • Backup power supply for any device that would create a life-threatening situation if you should lose power
  • Prescription medication for at least seven days
  • Personal hygiene supplies
  • Back up medical supplies like hearing aid batteries or a manual wheelchair
  • Non-perishable food supply for at least seven days (for pets too)
  • Canned or dried foods (freeze-dried prepared meals can be purchased)
  • One gallon of water per person per day for at least seven daysfor you and your pet
  • Manual can opener
  • Extra blankets and warm clothing
  • Shovel
  • Toilet paper
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct take to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags, and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Soap, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes
  • Prescription and non-prescription medicines for yourself and pets
  • Glasses and contact solution
  • Cash
  • Fire extinguisher
  • Matches in a waterproof container
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates, paper towels, plastic utensils
  • Paper and pencil

 Maintaining your emergency supplies

  • Keep food in a cool, dry place
  • Store boxed food in plastic or metal containers
  • Replace expired items as needed
  • Review your needed supplies every year to keep your kit updated

Kit storage locations

  • At home, keep your kit in a designated place and be sure all family members know where it is
  • At work, be prepared to shelter in place for at least 24 hours with enough food, water, medicines, walking shoes/boots, and foul weather gear. Keep them in a grab-and-go case.
  • In your car, keep a kit of emergency supplies: first aid kit, blankets, warm clothing, jumper cables, windshield scraper, shovel, rock salt or sand or cat litter, water, dried food, chains, flares, flashlight and batteries, cell phone charger, flares, a full tank of gas, tow rope.

Tips for Winter Weather Safety: 

  • Watch for slippery pavement. Be sure walkways and stairs are clear of ice and snow
  • Wear boots with non-skid soles, and allow extra time to cross streets
  • Wear light or fluorescent-colored clothing at night and carry a flashlight
  • Keep your radio tuned in when extreme weather is predicted
  • Dress warmly with a hat, gloves, warm boots, a scarf, and warm layers
  • Eat enough food, drink water, and stay as active as possible
  • Check on neighbors and have them check in on you
  • Don’t shovel snow if you have a heart problem or you are not in the condition to do so
  • Do not heat your home with a BBQ or your gas or propane stove/oven
  • Be sure to have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors with fresh batteries.
  • Be sure space heaters are three feet from anything that might catch fire
  • Never use a generator indoors or in a garage or carport
  • Winterize your car with anti-freeze, good tires, and windshield wipers
  • Bring your cell phone whenever you leave your home and let someone know where you are going

Get more information at:

Winter Storms | Island County, WA (islandcountywa.gov)

Disasters and Emergencies | Ready.gov

How to Prepare For Emergencies | Be Red Cross Ready | Red Cross

There are also books on emergency survival available at Sno-Isle Libraries.