REMEMBER: If it is to be, it is up to me... so make a plan, just in case.
After reviewing this document, should you have further questions please contact the Port Angeles Fire Department at (360) 417-4655. Below is the entire Emergency Planning Checklist, or download the checklist in a more convenient print format.
We recommend you make copies for your home, car and recreational vehicles.
EMERGENCY PLANNING CHECKLIST
While living in the northwest, we are subject to several potential disasters. While we hope that such occurrences never happen, it has been shown that being prepared for disasters is prudent. The purpose of this brochure is to acquaint you and your family with information essential for disaster planning.
Create a Disaster Plan
Meet with your family and discuss why you need to prepare for a disaster. Explain the dangers of fire, severe weather, and earthquakes to children. Plan to share responsibilities and work together as a team. Discuss the types of disasters that are most likely to happen. Explain what to do in each case. Pick two places to meet: right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency such as fire; outside your neighborhood in the event you can't return home. Everyone must know the phone number of the out-of-state contact person. After a disaster it's often easier to call long distance, so ask an out-of-state friend to be your "family contact."
Consider The Following:
Post the emergency 9-1-1 telephone numbers (i.e., fire, police, ambulance, etc.) by phones. Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1 to obtain emergency help. Teach family members how and when to turn off the water, liquid propane gas, and electricity at the main valves or switches. Check if you have adequate insurance coverage. Each family member should know how to use an ABC type fire extinguisher. Make sure everyone knows where it's kept. Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms. Conduct a home fire hazard hunt. Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit. Take Red Cross first aid and CPR classes. Determine the best escape routes from your home and find two ways out of each room. Determine the safest place to be in your home for each type of disaster. The Port Angeles Fire Department has hand-out materials to assist you in these areas.
Practice and Maintain Your Plan
Quiz your kids every six months on what to do in case of an emergency or disaster. Conduct fire and emergency evacuation drills. Replace stored water and stored food every six months. Test and recharge fire extinguishers according to manufacturers' instructions. Test your smoke detectors monthly and charge or replace the batteries at least once a year.
BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR
Meet with your neighbors to plan how the neighborhood could work together after a disaster until help arrives. If you're a member of a neighborhood association or crime watch group, introduce disaster/emergency preparedness as a new activity. Know your neighbors; are there doctors, mechanics, etc.? Consider how you could help neighbors who have special needs, such as disabled and elderly persons. Make plans for child care in case parents can't get home.
What to do if Disaster Strikes
Remain calm and patient.
Put your emergency plan into action.
Listen to your battery-powered radio for news and instructions.
Evacuate, if advised to do so.
Wear protective clothing and sturdy shoes.
Tune your radio to 1450AM for emergency information
Check for Injuries
Give first aid and get help for seriously injured people.
Check for Damage after the event
Use flashlights, do not light matches or turn on electrical switches, if you suspect damage.
Sniff for gas leaks, starting at the gas appliances. If you smell gas or suspect a leak, shut off the main gas valve, open windows, and get everyone outside quickly. Shut off any other damaged utilities.
Clean up spilled medicines, leaches, gasoline, and other flammable liquids immediately. Store any clean-up rags outside in a well ventilated area.
Confine or secure your pets.
Check on your neighbors, especially elderly or disabled persons.
Make sure you have an adequate water supply in case service is cut off.
Stay away from downed power lines.
Keep enough supplies in your home to meet your needs for at least three days.
Assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit with items you may need should you have to leave your home. Store these supplies in sturdy, easy-to-carry containers such as backpacks, dufflebags, or covered trash containers. Include: A minimum three-day supply of water (one gallon per person per day) and food that won't spoil.
Provide one change of clothing and footwear and one blanket or sleeping bag per person.
Prepare a first aid kit including your family's prescription medications.
Gather emergency tools including a battery-powered radio, flashlight, and plenty of extra batteries.
Have an extra set of car and house keys and credit card, cash, or travelers' checks available.
Have an extra pair of glasses available.
Keep important family documents in a waterproof container and in a place easily accessible.
When in a hurry, you won't have time to gather these items! Have them ready to go at a moment's notice.
OUR SPECIAL PEOPLE
Remember family members with special requirements, such as infants and elderly or disabled persons who have extra needs.
Formula (3-day supply)
Heart, high blood pressure or other medication (Talk to your doctor to determine how to accommodate a 7-day period without pharmacies)
Contact lenses and supplies
Extra eye glasses
IMPORTANT FAMILY DOCUMENTS
Keep these records in a waterproof, portable container:
Wills, insurance policies, contracts, deeds, stocks and bonds.
Passports, social security cards, immunization records
Bank account numbers
Credit card account numbers and companies
Inventory of valuable household goods
Important telephone numbers
Family records (birth, marriage, death certificates)
Store your container in a convenient place known to all family members.
TURNING OFF THE UTILITIES
When disaster strikes it often affects one or more of the utility systems in our homes. Therefore, it is important to know where the main controls are located and when and how to turn them off. It is best to learn these things before disaster strikes. Here are a few helpful pointers.
GAS (Liquid Propane)
Locate your gas valves for stoves and heaters and learn to turn off the gas. If you suspect the shut-off valve is not working properly, call your Liquid Propane dealer for an operational check. If you smell propane gas, evacuate immediately. Do not use candles, matches, lighter, open flame appliances or operate electrical switches. Sparks could ignite gas causing an explosion. Shut off the gas ONLY if you smell gas or hear a hissing noise. Let a professional turn the gas back on. Seek the assistance of a plumber to repair gas pipe damage.
Your sewer system could be damaged in a disaster such as earthquake, landslide or flood. To prevent the contamination of your home and possibly the drinking water supply, make sure the system is functioning as designed before using it. If you have a septic system that uses an electric pump to force gray-water into the drain field, you may encounter septic system problems during a power outage. If the electrical power is off for an extended time, and you continue to use water as you normally would, the septic tank will quickly fill up and sewage may back up into your home. To maintain the integrity of your septic system during a power outage, restrict the amount of water you put down the drain. Have a bucket or portable toilet available for disposing of human waste. Plastic bags placed in the toilet bowl will also work.
Locate your main electrical switch or fuse panel and learn how to turn the electrical system power off. If a generator is used as a backup power supply, remember to do the following: follow the manufacturer's instructions; connect lights and appliances directly to the generator and not the electrical system; do not use a generator in an enclosed area like a garage. Note: Generators connected to a utility company's electrical system must be inspected by the utility and the State Electrical Inspector. Do not refuel generators while they are running. Store gasoline in a separate, well ventilated room away from the generator.
Clearly label the water shut off valve and learn how to turn off the water supply. Shut off valves may be found immediately adjacent to your home or near the hot water heater. Ensure valves can be fully turned off. If a special tool is needed, make sure one is readily available. Shut off the main valve to prevent contamination of the water supply in your water heater and plumbing. The water in your hot water tank is a good supply of water. Know how to get it out with the supply valve turned off.
Make arrangements for your pets as part of your household disaster planning. If you must evacuate you home, it's always best to take your pets with you. If, as a last resort, you have to leave your pets behind, make sure you have a plan to ensure their care. For health and space reasons, pets are not allowed in public emergency shelters, however, in most states, trained guide dogs for persons with disabilities will be allowed to stay in emergency shelters with their owners.
Here are some special tips for dealing with your pets in an emergency or disaster. Contact your local animal shelter, humane society, veterinarian or emergency management office for information on caring for pets in an emergency. Find out if there will be any shelters set up to take pets in an emergency. Decide on safe locations in your house where you could leave your pet in an emergency. Set up two separate locations if you have cats and dogs. Avoid choosing rooms with hazards such as windows, hanging plants or pictures in large frames. Consider areas that are easy to clean such as bathrooms or utility rooms. Buy a pet carrier that allows your pet to stand up and turn. Train your pet to become comfortable with the carrier. If your pet is on medication or a special diet, talk to your veterinarian about what you should do in case you have to leave it alone for several days. Try to get an extra supply of medication. Make sure your pet has a properly fitted collar that includes the current license and rabies tags. If your dog normally wears a chain link "choker" collar, have a leather or nylon collar available in case you have to leave him alone for several days. Keep your pet's shots current and know where the records are. Most kennels require proof of current rabies and distemper vaccinations before accepting a pet. Contact motels and hotels in communities outside of your area and find out if they will accept pets in an emergency.
When assembling emergency supplies for the household, include items for the pets. When an emergency or disaster appears imminent, bring your pets inside immediately. Animals have instincts about severe weather changes and will often isolate themselves if they are afraid. Bringing them inside early can stop them from running away. Never leave your pet outside or tied up during a storm. If, after a disaster, you have to leave town, take your pet with you. Pets are unlikely to survive on their own. Birds must eat daily to survive. In an emergency, you may have to leave your birds behind. Talk with your veterinarian or local pet store about special food dispensers that regulate the amount of food a bird is given. Make sure the bird is caged and the cage is covered by a thin cloth or sheet to provide security and filtered light.
The behavior of your pet may change after an emergency or disaster. Normally quiet and friendly pets may become aggressive or defensive. Watch animals closely. In the first few days after a disaster, leash your pets when they go outside. Familiar scents and landmarks may be altered and your pet may become confused and lost.
Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable food. Select foods that require no refrigeration, preparation or cooking, and little or no water. If you must heat food, pack a can of Sterno. Select food items that are compact and lightweight, such as ready-to-eat canned meats, dried fruits, and vegetables.
FIRST AID KIT
Assemble a first aid kit for your home and one for each car. A first aid kit should include:
Sterile adhesive bandages in assorted sizes
Assorted sizes of safety pins
Latex gloves (2 pairs)
2-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
4-inch sterile gauze pads (4-6)
Triangular bandages (3)
2-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
3-inch sterile roller bandages (3 rolls)
Tongue depressors (2)
Tube of petroleum jelly or other lubricant
Aspirin or non-aspirin pain reliever
Antacid (for stomach upset)
Syrup of Ipecac (use to induce vomiting if advised by the Poison Control Center)
Activated charcoal (use if advised by the Poison Control Center)
TOOLS AND SUPPLIES
Lightweight pots and pans, paper cups, plates, and plastic utensils
Battery-operated radio and extra batteries
Flashlight and extra batteries
Cash or traveler's checks, change
Non-electric can opener
Fire extinguisher - small canister ABC type
Tube tent, pup-tent or tarp
Matches in a waterproof container
Plastic storage containers
Shut-off wrench, to turn off household gas and water
Toilet paper, towelettes
Soap, liquid detergent
Personal hygiene items
Plastic garbage bags, ties (for personal sanitation uses)
5-gallon plastic bucket with tight lid
Household chlorine bleach
CLOTHING AND BEDDING
Include at least one complete change of clothing and footwear per person.
Sturdy shoes or work boots
Blankets or sleeping bags
Hat and gloves
Ski suits or the equivalent for warmth
It is important to know how to store water properly before disaster strikes, and even more important to know how to purify water after a disaster. Here are some important tips to help you.
Store water in thoroughly washed plastic, fiberglass, or enamel-lined metal containers. Plastic containers, such as soft drink bottles, are best, however, food-grade plastic buckets or drums may also be purchased for this purpose. Never use a container that has held toxic substances. Refrain from using plastic gallon milk containers as they are not airtight. Seal water containers tightly, label, and store them in a cool, dark place. Adding oxygen, by pouring water back and forth between two clean containers, will improve the taste of stored water. Replace the water every six months. Remember: 1-2 gallons of water per person - per day.
PURIFICATION - GENERAL
While the storage of water is fairly simple and straight forward, water purification is a bit more complex. In addition to having a bad odor and taste, contaminated water may contain microorganisms that cause diseases such as dysentery, typhoid and hepatitis. You should purify all water of uncertain purity before using it for drinking, food preparation or hygiene. There are many ways to purify water, but none is perfect. Often it is best to use a combination of methods. Boiling and disinfecting will kill most microbes but will not remove other contaminants such as heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Distillation will remove microbes that resist boiling and disinfecting plus heavy metals, salts and most other chemicals. Before purifying, let any suspended particles settle to the bottom, or strain them through layers of paper towel or a clean cloth.
PURIFICATION - BOILING
Boiling is the safest method of purifying water. Bring water to a rolling boil for 3-5 minutes, keeping in mind some water will evaporate. Let the water cool before drinking. Boiled water will taste better if you put oxygen back into it by pouring the water back and forth between two clean containers.
PURIFICATION - DISINFECTING
You can use household bleach to kill micro organisms. Use only regular household bleach that contains 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite. Do not use scented bleaches, color-safe bleaches, or bleaches with added cleaners. Add 16 drops of bleach per gallon of water; stir and let stand 30 minutes. If the water does not have a slight bleach odor, repeat the dosage and let stand another 15 minutes. The only agent used to purify water should be household liquid bleach. Other chemicals, such as iodine or water treatment products sold in camping or surplus stores, may not contain 5.25 percent sodium hypochlorite as its only active ingredient. These other chemicals are not recommended and should not be used.