Northwest NEWS

November 8, 1999

Home & Garden

Survive the commute when disaster strikes

Safety Tips for Motorists

   SEATTLE--With fall upon us, and La Nina in the wings, Pacific Northwest commuters may be in for some rough weather.

   According to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Regional Director David L. de Courcy, a few simple motorist safety tips could make the difference between inconvenience and real disaster.

   "We need to be prepared for a future flood, earthquake, or winter storm if it strikes when we are at work, at home with our children, if our children are away at school, or if we're on the road in our car," said de Courcy. "Americans can be particularly vulnerable if disaster strikes while they are driving. Search and Rescue teams find too many victims who might have survived if only they had known whether or not to leave their cars."

   Disaster driving is one part of preparedness: one part common sense, and one part learning from experience--our own and other's. For example:

   Auto emergency kits should contain as a minimum: blankets and warm clothing, booster cables and tools, bottled water, canned fruits and nuts, a first aid kit, flashlight and batteries, traction mats or chains, a shovel, and emergency prescription medication.

   Libraries, local emergency management offices, and local chapters of the American Red Cross offer a wealth of information booklets, pamphlets, checklists, and brochures on emergency preparedness and mitigation techniques. "Electronic" preparedness and mitigation tips are available through FEMA's 24-hour FAX-on-Demand service at (206) 646-FEMA, and the FEMA website at www.FEMA.gov.