September 2018 Preparedness Checklist: Plan, Drill, Talk

September 2018 Preparedness Checklist: Plan, Drill, Talk

evacuation sign square

From our Disaster Preparedness Program coordinator Sheryl Gerety ( a monthly, seasonally appropriate checklist page to help us tackle preparing for a disaster in manageable steps.

Preparing for a disaster is actually more involved than stocking a pantry or occasionally glancing at the escape routes in your office building. We also need to talk with people around us and physically go through some of the recommended measures for events such as fire and earthquake.

School and even dormitory fire drills are familiar to many of us. The physical act of walking through an escape route before it is ever needed helps us stay calm in the middle of an emergency. Here are tips for developing a plan and practicing with family, friends, and colleagues.

Household/Workplace Fire Drills

  • Practice crawling on hands and knees or staying low below “smoke” and superheated gases
  • Practice a variety of exits, whether out of ground floor windows or nearest exterior doors
  • Second floor rooms should have an exterior means of escape
  • Provide fire breaks as you leave: close interior doors and windows upon exit and close exterior doors on the way out
  • Meet at the assigned spot well away from the structure

Area Evacuation Drills

  • Pre-assign family or office members their evacuation tasks
  • Establish evacuation routes for driving and for walking
  • Gather elderly members, infants, and children together with their necessary items (oxygen, diapers, meds)
  • Leash pets, crate them and place in the evacuation vehicle with food and extra water
  • Place go bags and special items by the door, then load into vehicles or move to public transit station as time allows

Sheltering in Place at Home or Work

  • Set up a tent, create a portable toilet, build a hand washing station and establish a cooking area
  • Relocate water reserves from storage to shelter area
  • Prepare and eat a meal from food reserves
  • Locate vinyl sheeting and tape for sealing windows
  • Get out the board games and play a round by flashlight

Earthquake Drills

  • Practice drop and cover
  • Walk the route home if feasible
  • Identify probable shelter locations between you and locations of family members
  • Children memorize family phone numbers, home address as identifiers
  • Update arrangements for meeting children at school

What we are reading and watching

TedX Talks Portland: Why We Do Not Prepare For Earthquakes

American Red Cross Cascadia Conversation Kit