Are you ready for an Emergency?


In light of the disaster in Japan and the very likely possibility that we could face a similar earth quake in the future being located on the infamous “Ring of Fire“, now is a great time to ask yourself, ”Am I ready for an emergency?”

The city website has a wonderful article to help you answer this questions and offers Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Training. Emergency Services Coordinating Agency (ESCA) provides free training to individuals through the CERT Program. CERT helps people gain the skills and tools needed to take care of themselves and others for up to three days following a disaster or major incident. If you are interested in participating in an upcoming CERT class, call ESCA at (425) 776-3722.

3 Days, 3 Ways: Are You Ready? Being prepared for a disaster can save lives.

Step 1.  Make a Plan
Take the time to make an evacuation and communication plan and discuss it with your family. Know how to reach family members at their work, school or day care. Program “ICE” or “In case of emergency” into your cell phone. Rescuers will look for this number if you’re unable to speak. Program the number to dial a family member or friend. Other tips include:

  • Choose two places for family to meet, outside your home and outside your neighborhood
  • Have a friend or relative’s phone numbers and email addresses for out-of-town contacts
  • Pick two evacuation routes from home, neighborhood, school, and work
  • Put wrench near natural gas shut-off
  • Locate water main shut off
  • Prepare two signs for window that say “Okay” and “Help”
  • Check fire extinguishers regularly for expiration dates
  • Establish a neighborhood-gathering site
  • Prepare a neighborhood plan for disaster recovery
  • Learn local emergency organizations to report to as part of disaster recovery plan
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by the phone and make copies for your kit

Step 2.  Build a Kit
Your disaster supply kit can save your life. The city’s main responsibility is to protect life and health in a major disaster and may not be able to assist you for up to three days. Having these essential supplies will help you survive:

  • Water for 3 days – 1 gallon per person per day (at a minimum)
  • Food, at least a 3-day supply of non-perishable food and a manual can opener
  • Radio – Battery or crank-operated and NOAA Weather Radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlight or battery operated lantern with extra batteries
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Extra clothes, sturdy shoes and blankets
  • First Aid Kit, including Ibuprofen, thermometer, and anti-bacterial hand-wash or wipes
  • Special need items such as prescription medication, eyeglasses, personal hygiene items, and pet food
  • Dust mask, to help filter air and plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter in place
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Important family documents stored in a portable, waterproof container.

Step 3.  Get Involved
We can all help each other during an emergency or disaster. Get to know your neighbors and find out what special needs or skills your neighbors have.  Are there seniors and children living on your street?  What kind of assistance might they need?

  • Get trained in CPR, basic first aid, and CERT  
  • Visit your local fire department for information about how to prevent fires
  • Get to know your community:  Join the city’s Crime Watch program. Attend community events such as National Night Out Against Crime and the Citizens Police Academy
  • Be informed. Discuss the types of emergencies that may occur in your area and how you will respond.

Recent news footage reminds us that severe natural disasters can be particularly punishing to those who haven’t prepared. Make an effort to put together a 3-day disaster preparedness kit and get involved.

Here are some ways you can donate to relief efforts in Japan from your mobile phone.

  • Text “JAPAN” or “TSUNAM” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of Save the Children Federation, Inc.
  • Text “4JAPAN”or “4TSUNAMI” to 20222 to donate $10 on behalf of World Vision, Inc.   
  • Text “MERCY” to 25283 to donate $10 on behalf of Mercy Corps
  • The Red Cross has its own mobile giving program, in which supporters can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to donate $10.
  • If you want to support The Salvation Army USA, you can text “JAPAN” to 80888 to make a $10 donation to the organization


  1. Excellent timing of this post. While CERT training is great, it is not necessary to prepare yourselves. I only say this because the time committment to be CERT certified may be much for people. I’d hate to see that turn off people from being prepared. Getting your family prepared just takes a little time to make a list of resources, buy some products, and practice your plan. I also recommend that neighborhoods form a group to have monthly meetings and discuss preparedness. It’s a good time to identify what resources exist in the community or what neighbors may need a little extra help (seniors or young children).

    Also, if you don’t know the natural hazards that may affect Mountlake Terrace then feel free to read Mountlake Terrace’s local hazard mitigation plan. You can find the plan here: Though it’s not a great plan, it points you in the right direction.




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