April 20, 1998


Guest Editorial

Easy to follow emergency preparedness plan

   from the Seattle King County Department of Public Health
   Now that spring is here, many of us are cleaning out our homes. While you are cleaning out those cupboards and drawers, it is the perfect time to put together your Emergency Containers. Rather than throwing out items no longer used, think about whether they would be handy in an emergency.If the thought of organizing your Emergency Containers is overwhelming and you just don't know where to begin, this 32-week plan is simple, takes very little time and will help you get organized.
   Week 1: Get easy-to-carry containers for each family member-- plastic tub, backpack, suitcase, box, trash can, etc. Plan for means of transporting if necessary; wagon, luggage cart, etc. Select an accessible location for the containers and inform all family members where they will be kept. Note: Date all food items and batteries as you add them to containers. Some items will need to be rotated and replaced over time.
   Week 2: Post emergency phone numbers near each telephone. Teach each family member these numbers, including the phone number of a relative or friend who lives in another state and can be a contact person for your family. Put into each container: 1 can of tuna or chicken and eating utensils, a knife, fork and spoon.
   Week 3: Plan and practice family evacuation drills using two different escape routes from each room and meeting outside at a pre-appointed place. Put into each container: 1 small can opener (army style), 1 can Vienna sausages or other canned meat, 1 box raisins or other dried fruit.
   Week 4: Put into each container: 3 granola bars and 3 8-oz. cans of fruit juice.
   Week 5: Put into each container: 2 large (30 to 40-gallon) trash bags to be used as a poncho, ground cover or blanket, 6 medium (13-gallon) plastic bags, a plastic cup and dish and 6-10 small paper plates.
   Week 6: Put into each container 1 small package of tissues, 1 can of nuts, 1 small container of peanut butter and 1 small container of honey.
   Week 7: Add 1 change of clothing for each person: underwear, socks, shirt, pants, sweater, hat, work gloves, jacket, sturdy shoes and portable hand warmers.
   Week 8: Gather a 3-day water supply. Store 1 gallon of water per person per day (2 quarts for drinking and 1 quart for food preparation). Don't forget water for pets. Store away from freezing temperatures.
   Note: The Woodinville Weekly will continue to publish suggestions for weeks 9-32 in future editions. Following the plan is an easy way to be prepared by the end of the year.