Disasters and Your Family: Be Prepared

Nobody likes to think about disasters affecting our communities. But whether its hurricaneswildfirestornados, or other disasters, thinking about it is exactly what we need to do. Preparation makes all the difference; it can literally save lives.

Children and families can prepare together. Disasters can be scary, but being ready is one way to be less afraid! 

Make a plan today. Your family may not be together if a disaster strikes, so it is important to know which types of disasters could affect your area. Know how you’ll contact one another and reconnect if separated. Establish a family meeting place that’s familiar and easy to find.

Five steps to family disaster preparedness:

  • Talk with your family about disasters that could happen in the Pacific Northwest, such as home fires, wildfires, severe winter weather, flooding, earthquakes, and hazardous materials accidents.

  • Train all family members. Take first aid classes. Learn to use a fire extinguisher. Locate your utility shutoff valves and know when and how to turn off your gas, electricity and water. Make sure several people in your household have this knowledge or training. Pick two places to meet; one right outside your home in case of a sudden emergency, like a fire, another outside your neighborhood, in case you can't return home or are asked to leave your neighborhood. Everyone must know the address and phone number of your meeting locations.

  • Take stock of supplies you may already have on hand that would be helpful in a disaster. Put together a disaster supplies kit. Involve the whole family in collecting and assembling supplies of food, water, and emergency tools.

  • Tell everyone in the household where emergency contact information is kept. Post a copy on your refrigerator and keep another with your emergency supplies. Complete an emergency contact list as found on the American Red Cross website. Make sure you have included an out of state contact. You may be able to reach them when local phone lines not in operation.

  • Test your readiness on a regular basis. Review your family disaster plan and go through supplies at least once a year. Commit to a day or weekend to update phone numbers, hold family fire and earthquake drills and check supplies.

Being prepared for disasters is everyone’s job, including YOU. Be creative as you prepare your family to be 2 Weeks Ready. Together, we can build a disaster resilient Washington!

Follow the links for more information about preparing a disaster kit and other ways to prepare. Don't get caught unprepared.


American Red Cross Family Disaster Plan 
Department of Homeland Security - Ready.gov 
Washington State Emergency Management