Are You Ready if Disaster Strikes the Pacific Northwest?
KIRKLAND, Wash., Sept. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – The recent hurricanes and wildfires that swept through multiple regions of the country serve as a fitting reminder of the importance of having proper resources and plans in place in case disaster strikes the Pacific Northwest. In light of recent events, Evergreen Healthcare, a local leader in disaster preparedness, offers advice and resources to Puget Sound residents for creating plans in case of an emergency close to home.
Evergreen advises community members to keep the following tips in mind when preparing a plan for staying safe during a disaster:
- Know your escape plan – What’s the quickest way out of your home or office? Whether it’s a fire, an earthquake or any other disaster, having a predetermined escape route helps ensure the safety of you and your loved ones.
- Create an action plan for your children – A straightforward disaster plan for your children will make sure they know how to react in an emergency. Also, be sure to teach them how to dial 9-1-1 before the need arises.
- Stockpile food and supplies – Experts recommend stockpiling enough food and supplies to sustain your family’s needs for at least five days. Stock up on water, non-perishable food items and a can opener, a flashlight and batteries, a first-aid kit, spare clothes, sleeping bags and blankets, tools and other personalized items for infants, the elderly or those with special needs.
- Keep extra prescription medications - In an emergency, your local pharmacy may not be open or able to supply you with your prescription medications. Always have an extra seven days of medications on hand.
- Secure heavy furniture and appliances – Earthquakes are an ever-present threat in Western Washington. That’s why it’s important to ensure that heavy furniture, shelves and water heaters are secured to the walls around them.
- Identify spots for shelter – Find places around your home to take shelter away from glass and other heavy objects that could fall. Also, make sure you know where the nearest shelter or safe spot outside of the home is located in case your neighborhood becomes unsafe.
- Vaccinate and prepare your pets – Stay proactive and make sure your pets are vaccinated, that you’ve stocked up on pet food and care items and that each pet has up-to-date identification. In the event of a disaster, pet shelters may require proof of vaccination, as well as food and supplies.
- Establish an out-of-state contact – Local phone lines may be jammed or cell towers damaged in certain emergencies, making local calls difficult or impossible. Each family member should know the designated contact and call in with an “I’m OK” message.
On Saturday, Sept. 24, Evergreen Healthcare will offer more tips, address many common questions and offer a host of other resources to help the community stay prepared at its Disaster Readiness Fair at Evergreen Hospital Medical Center.
Evergreen’s annual Disaster Readiness Fair will offer presentations, workshops and activities filled with critical information and key resources for community members who want to prepare their families for a range of disasters, whether it’s heavy snowfall, an earthquake or a hazardous chemical spill.
The event will feature special informative presentations by disaster experts, including local expert Dr. Kay Koelemay, a medical epidemiologist in public health for Seattle and King County, and her husband, Dr. Doug Dicharry, a child and adolescent psychologist. The pair will give their presentation “Talking to Kids about Disasters,” which offers helpful advice on how and when to talk to children about disasters and staying safe.
Experts from the Northshore Utility District will address crucial water storage tips, including how much to store, what kind of containers to use and where to store it. Another presentation by the Washington State Animal Rescue Team will share information on preparing pets and livestock for disasters, as well as interesting stories from their recent deployments around the country.
“As a community-based healthcare organization, it’s our responsibility to do everything within our power to help Eastside families prepare for worst-case disaster scenarios,” said Evergreen Healthcare CEO Bob Malte. “We take great pride in our role as a vital resource for the continued health and well-being of the community.”
The fair, which was designed based on requested programming from the Eastside community, will also offer the public the chance to build a personal emergency kit with the help of Redmond business PrepareSmart.
Puget Sound Energy will put on a high voltage demonstration featuring power lines energized to 12,000 volts to display common accidents and safety tips to help prevent them. The presentation will also include instructions for how and why to shut off a gas meter in an emergency.
Other Disaster Readiness Fair attractions include tours of medic units, fire trucks and a Coast Guard helicopter. Residents will have the opportunity to learn how to properly discharge fire extinguishers and apply CPR techniques, and will be able to tour the disaster-ready Evergreen Hospital emergency room and mobile disaster shelter.
Evergreen welcomes the public to its main hospital campus on Sept. 24 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to learn about the essential information and resources available to Eastside residents in case disaster strikes. It is an annual event that coincides with National Preparedness Month.
For more preventive tips and safety information about all types of disasters, please visit http://www.dhs.gov/files/prepresprecovery.shtm.
To learn more about Evergreen Healthcare visit www.evergreenhealthcare.org or call the Evergreen Healthline at 425.899.3000.
About Evergreen Healthcare
Evergreen Healthcare, a public hospital district and community-based health care organization established in 1972, offers a breadth of services and programs that is among the most comprehensive in the region. More than 950 physicians provide clinical excellence within more than 80 specialties, including cardiac, oncology, surgical care, orthopedics, a Neuroscience Institute, Women’s and Children’s services, hospice care, pulmonary care, a Sleep Disorders Center and Home Health services care. Evergreen serves more than 400,000 residents in its primary service area of northern King and southern Snohomish counties with Evergreen Medical Group, a network of primary and urgent care practices, and Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, its main hospital campus in Kirkland, Wash. Evergreen also provides emergency care at two sites; its main hospital campus and the Evergreen Redmond Medical Center. In addition to clinical care, Evergreen offers extensive community health outreach and education programs, anchored by Evergreen Healthline, a 24/7 nurse consultation service. For more information, visit www.evergreenhealthcare.org.
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