Thoughts on disaster preparedness | Letter

Jun 26, 2014

Editor, The Beacon:

I have been in the disaster business for quite a while, most recently providing support to the federal search and rescue and disaster assistance teams during the OSO mudslide disaster.

In my more than 10 years of emergency management responding to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms to earthquakes, I have observed there are many things people can do to minimize the harmful effects from any disaster.

It is called preparedness. On June 11 I attended a Cascadia earthquake planning conference in Olympia, and heard the state is overdue for a large-scale earthquake just off the coast that could reach and significantly affect our community of Edmonds.

To prepare for something like this (or any large disaster), here are five general things you can do to help you survive and recover.

Check your insurance coverage. Work with your agent and understand what is and is not covered.

To reduce the possibility of uninsured losses you should adjust your policy to cover any potential threats in your area (fire, flood, earth movement, wind, etc).

Don’t expect the government to reimburse your losses. Insurance is your best bet.

Know your surroundings. Are you in an area susceptible to earthquakes, mudslides, flooding, strong winds, storms, fires, tsunamis or power blackouts?

If you are, you should learn the quickest route to safety.

Have a plan. During a disaster is not the time to begin thinking about what you should do to survive.

Think about it in advance. Put it on paper and share with your family.

Have a Kit. You should stock essential supplies. Do you have a battery operated radio, first aid kit, extra food, water, clothing, medicines, flashlight batteries or any other items to be self-sufficient for three days in adverse conditions when the power is out, water is not running, and phones not working?

Everyone should keep emergency kits in their homes and cars.

Listen and obey. If you hear emergency alarms or smell gas take immediate action to get to safety.

When authorities say it is time to leave, leave! They are professionals with the knowledge of when and where to evacuate.

To learn more, visit www.ready.gov or www.emd.wa.gov/preparedness.

Lee Champagne

Edmonds

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