Here are the main results from the Spring 2005 preparedness survey of over 300
households in Spokane County.|
The comments included below are the researcher's
own, except where noted, based on extensive studies and experiences as a disaster
responder and disaster information presenter. Please view the provided links for
Nobody can be completely prepared for all potential disasters since we all have
limited resources of time and money. The Spokane region has a long history of
minor and major disasters. We all need
to take responsibility for being "reasonably" prepared to protect our household
There are many organizations that provide information on specific disaster
topics. this website was created to provide a comprehensive list of links to
other sites with information relevant to the Inland Northwest.
According to the local Hazard Identification
and Vulnerability Analysis, winter storms are the most likely events
followed by power failures, wild fires, home fires, terrorism and hazardous
materials incidents respectively.
It is advisable to have a meeting place in your neighborhood, like a neighbor's
home, in case of home fire or other unsafe conditions where the family can gather
and be accounted for. It is also advisable to have a backup location well away
from your neighborhood in case of larger disasters where family members can
gather and be accounted for.
During a large disaster, if your family becomes separated, it may be easier to
make long distance calls, rather than local, to account for each other. Many
local phone lines may be down or overloaded while disaster agencies may have
dedicated long distance lines or utilize satellite and radio communications.
It is important that we encourage our employers to have a business continuity
plan (it is required in Canada and Britain), to protect our jobs and income. It is
also important because our business or organization may provide necessary
services or products to other citizens and businesses.
NOAA Weather radios are becoming the choice alert system for all hazard warnings
issued by the government, including Amber Alerts, since broadcasts can currently reach
95% of the population. Please check out this link
to learn more and find available radios.
FEMA recommends each person and household maintain a 72 hour (3 day) hit. If a
major disaster exceeds the local community's ability to handle, it may take 72
hours to mobilize and transport necessary personnel and supplies from other areas.
In our technologically advanced society, we use an extensive amount of chemicals
that may be extremely toxic when released into the environment in large quantities.
Spokane is a major transportation corridor and storage facility for many of
these materials. Fortunately most chemicals disperse quickly and simple measures provided by
Red Cross Shelter-in-Place instructions can protect your household.
It is important that you keep basic emergency supplies in your vehicles at all
times, especially when traveling outside your community. You never know when you
might become stranded due to a car breakdown or weather. Be sure to include
items like medications; I was stranded last year without my heart medications a
hundred miles from home. Follow this link for more information on all
Most home fires happen at night and people, especially young children, become
confused in the dark and smoke. You have very little time to escape from a home
before toxic fumes overcome you once a fire starts. Please check out
FEMA fire safety information.
Both people living in cities and in rural areas need to be concerned about what
to do with their animals during a disaster. If you have to evacuate your home
and go to a shelter, you cannot take your pets into the shelter for health and
safety reasons. If you have farm animals, you need to have the ability to
transport them to a different location in case of an incident like a wildfire.
Please go to FEMA advice for
animal owners for more information.
FEMA advises all households have members that are trained in First Aid and CPR
in case professional medical response is delayed. Especially for severe bleeding
or heart attack, every minute and second counts! First aid training is available
from your local Red Cross Chapter.
This information will enable local disaster organizations design more appropriate
presentations for the community.
Based on this information, most presentations will be designed for one hour
with optional workshops that may last longer.
If this is your desire, please get involved with your local
Community Emergency Response Teams.