The City of Port Orchard works closely with other agencies in our community to prepare for and respond to emergencies and disasters, natural or man-made. The City is in the process of updating our comprehensive plan for repair and recovery in the event of a disaster of any kind. We all must work together to prepare for and respond to a disaster. Port Orchard’s residents and businesses also need to take part by being ready for an emergency. Disaster can strike at any time so it is best to be prepared now!
Are You Prepared?
Recent events around the world have prompted us to think about whether we really are prepared for a major emergency or disaster. Residents shouldn’t expect assistance from government agencies for up to two weeks following a major events because the most serious and life threatening incidents receive priority, making it unlikely much assistance will be available to individual neighborhoods. Emergency management experts recommend being prepared to be on your own for seven days and even up to two weeks.
So what can you do to be prepared for the worst?
- Make a family communication plan that includes an evacuation plan that coordinates with your school, work and community communication plans. Practice this plan with your entire family.
- Build a disaster supply kit that includes enough supplies for each family member for 14 days (don’t forget your pets). Remember to check your kit every six months.
- There are six basics you should stock for your home in the case of an emergency: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items for medical conditions. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to carry container.
For more information on emergency preparedness visit the Red Cross website, the Kitsap County Department of Emergency Management website, or the U.S. Department of Homeland Security website Ready.gov.
The following is a checklist of things you can do to be prepared:
- Purchase a NOAA ‘All Hazards’ Radio for emergency alerts.
- Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
- Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
- Show each family member how and when to turn off the utilities (water, gas, and electricity).
- Get training for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it’s kept.
- Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
- Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
- Take a first aid and CPR class.
- Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
- Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster and learn shelter-in-place procedures.
- Practice and maintain your plan.
- Quiz your kids every six months or so.
- Conduct fire and emergency evacuations.
- Replace stored water and stored food every six months.
- Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.
It is critical for businesses to be prepared for a disaster. History tells us that many small businesses will not survive in the event of an emergency or disaster; most small businesses can’t afford to be closed for more than three days. To protect your business, you need to be prepared. The Department of Homeland Security has a lot of important information to help you and your business plan for a disaster.
Get Involved through Community Emergency Response Teams
The Kitsap County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is based on the National CERT program and educates Kitsap County citizens about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact our area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, utility safety, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, Kitsap CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. Kitsap CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.