A Resolution of Preparedness

Resolutions — we’ve all got them, whether we’ll admit it to our co-workers or not; Eat healthier, get organized, drink more water, read more books, find a better work-life balance, travel more, worry less, or find a better job.

Whatever you’ve resolved to do in the next 365 days, the American Red Cross suggests adding one more resolution to the top your 2017 to-do list: emergency preparedness.

With the 2016 Cascadia Rising report from FEMA — warning of a possible magnitude 9 earthquake and corresponding tsunamis — still looming over the Northwest, this resolution could carry some serious consequences over time if families don’t follow through. Not to mention the Northwest also is susceptible to other devastating events like mudslides and windstorms, which are capable of rendering households without electricity for days.

Photo by Jason Colston/American Red Cross

Photo by Jason Colston/American Red Cross

“Households need to plan what they would do if an emergency situation occurred,” Colin Downey, American Red Cross regional communications director, said in a statement. “All it takes is three easy steps: get a disaster kit ready, develop an emergency plan, and be informed about what possible risks you may face where you live.”

Following Downey’s guidelines, families should first assemble an emergency kit full of things like flashlights, batteries, drinking water, non-perishable food, first-aid supplies, and other items that can be operated without electricity. A complete interactive kit checklist can be found on the Red Cross’ website.

Next, Downey suggests talking openly with family members about what to do during emergencies, this is especially important for the younger members of a household. The name of the game here is to create an exit strategy and plan for a meeting point outside your home and another outside your neighborhood, and then practice, practice, practice. Know evacuation routes out of your neighborhood and keep a list of emergency contacts and pet-friendly hotels (if applicable) at the ready.

Finally, know the risks where you live, work, learn, and play. Ask yourself what dangers you’re susceptible to in the locations where you spend the most time throughout the week. Know how to protect yourself and your family in the event of a number of possible scenarios. Sign yourself and your age-appropriate children up for CPR and first aid classes — like those offered by the Red Cross — so they’ll know what to do while they wait for help to arrive.

For more tips like these, visit the Red Cross online or download their emergency app from the app store.

is an assistant editor at South Sound magazine. Email her.
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