Every time there is a natural disaster, emergency preparedness becomes the hot topic. I have watched this happen after the tsunami event in Thailand, the earthquake in Haiti, the flooding in China, etc., etc., etc., and within weeks after each event apathy sets in with confidence that our emergency services will take care of our community’s needs if or when that time comes.
Watching the disaster from the tsunami in Japan has been heart-wrenching. So what can be learned from their plight? Could we suffer from a similar earthquake event with a tsunami off the coast of Washington moving up into the straits? Past geological events have been recorded — approximately every 300 years there have been earthquakes and tsunamis that have devastated our coastal shorelines similar to what has happened in Japan.
So here are some questions for you to contemplate: Is your personal first aid kit adequate and well-stocked? Have you planned for your family’s medical needs like medications, etc.? Could you feed your family for 30 days? How much water have you stored away? What about dealing with your sanitation needs? Do you have a battery-operated radio to listen to so that you can be informed about relief efforts when they become available?
This past week we have been watching Japan’s devastation progress, seeing the nuclear power plants spewing out radiation, a cold weather front with snow falling on the homeless, lack of food, water and communications. We never want to see this happen to anyone living on the Olympic Peninsula.
For years our County Emergency Management Division, American Red Cross, Local CERT Teams, Sheriff’s Office, Sequim Police and Fire District 3 have tried to teach our citizens that they need to be prepared for such a time when our community may suffer a natural disaster. Your local fire and police department will not be able to respond to your emergency needs for at least 72 hours during a large disaster.
I have asked several citizens who had emergency preparedness training: What have you done in preparation for disaster preparedness? Most state that they are not ready yet and still need more preparation.
We live in a beautiful area, but we also are isolated from the mainland where U.S. Highway 101 is our main lifeline moving commodities to our local retail stores. When that lifeline is cut off do you really want to be in competition to purchase the few items left on the store shelves?
It’s best to plan now, taking prudent action for your family’s welfare.