Disaster Preparedness

Emergency Supplies

In addition to the supplies below, a mobile kit is recommended in case you have to leave your property in a hurry.

LIGHT: Keep at least one working flashlight available where you can find it safely in the dark. Due to fire risk, use candles and lanterns with great care. Place additional flashlights throughout your home and in your vehicle.

WARMTH: Keep extra blankets, warm clothing and sleeping bags where you can find them quickly and easily in an emergency. If you have an alternative heat source, make sure it is working before you need it. Never use charcoal barbecues, outdoor grills or any outdoor cooking device inside your home, which can cause a life-threatening buildup of carbon monoxide.

FIRST AID: Emergency responders can be delayed during widespread emergencies, so keep your own first aid kit stocked and ready to go. Kits are available at Ray’s Pharmacy, Island Market, Ace Hardware, Island Hardware, the Eastsound Fire Station and many locations off-island.

FOOD: During a disaster, power outages can last for days, a week, or longer. Stock up on canned foods, dry mixes, and other staples that do not require refrigeration, cooking, water, or special preparation:

  • Peanut butter
  • Crackers 
  • Granola bars
  • Trail mix
  • Soup
  • Canned meat, fruit, and vegetables
  • Aseptic-packed juices and milk
  • Soy, rice or almond milk
  • Manual can opener
  • Eating utensils

WATER: Water is essential to survival and is absolutely necessary for emergency supply kits. During a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Water needs vary, based on an individual’s age, physical condition, activity, diet, and climate, but plan on storing at least one gallon of water for each person per day.

PETS: Learn more about planning for pets during an emergency.

Earthquake Safety

If you feel the shaking associated with an earthquake, follow these tips to stay as safe as possible. Share them with your family!

Knowledge + Planning = Earthquake Survival

If you are indoors

  • Stay there until the shaking has stopped and you are sure it is safe to exit the building.
  • DROP to the ground and take COVER under a sturdy table or other pieces of furniture. HOLD ON until the shaking stops.
  • If there is no sturdy table or desk nearby, cover your face and head with your arms and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • If you’re in bed, stay there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow. But, if you are under a heavy light fixture that could fall, move to the nearest safe place.
Stay away from:
  • Glass
  • Outside doors and walls
  • Anything that can fall: light fixtures, bookshelves, furniture
Keep in mind:
  • The electricity may go out.
  • Fire alarms and sprinkler systems may be activated.
  • Do NOT use elevators.

If you’re outdoors

  • Stay there until the shaking stops. Do not enter buildings.
  • Move away from buildings, streetlights and utility wires.
  • The greatest risk is directly outside buildings, at exits, and along exterior walls.
  • Earthquake-related casualties most often result from collapsing walls, flying glass and falling objects.

Indoors or outdoors

  • Always minimize your movements to as few steps as possible to reach a safe place.

Did you know? Most earthquake injuries occur when people inside buildings attempt to move to a different location inside or leave the building.

Lightning Safety

San Juan County experiences severe summer storms, so it’s important to know how to avoid lightning strike injuries.

Keep in mind

  • Thousands of people are injured by lightning every year, many with disabling, long-term consequences.
  • During a thunderstorm, there is NO safe place outside. Safe indoor places include buildings with walls, closed doors, and closed windows. Standing in a garage, under an awning, in a picnic shelter or a tent is not adequate protection.
  • Lightning seeks a path to the ground by connecting to the nearest, tallest object (but not always). Your risk of being struck increases with the square of your height.
  • Lightning can strike a person directly, splash off a roof or tree to a person, or travel via direct contact or ground current to a person.

If you are caught outdoors during a thunderstorm

  • Evacuate high-risk areas: ridges, peaks, open fields, cliffs, towers, and bleachers.
  • Get off the water.
  • Seek shelter in a building or vehicle with windows and doors closed. If no shelter is available, insulate yourself from the ground with a pack, foam pad or life jacket.
  • Crouch or sit in a small compact position and stay as low as possible.

Lightning myths

  1. Myth: Lightning is attracted to metal.
    Truth: Lightning is attracted to the nearest, tallest object, which is often metal.
  2. Myth: Lightning strike victims are electrified and cannot be touched.
    Truth: Victims do not retain any charge. Assess and treat the person immediately.
  3. Myth: Lightning strike victims have internal burns.
    Truth: Internal burns are highly unlikely. Burns are usually superficial or partial thickness skin burns.
  4. Myth: Lightning strike survivors do not need hospital treatment.
    Truth: Many injuries are delayed and any person struck by lightning should receive hospital evaluation after field care.

Did you know? Lightning is the number two weather-related killer in the U.S., second to flash flooding.

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