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Emergency Management

Are You Ready?

In 1962, the Columbus Day storm brought 90+ mph winds and caused $200 million in damages to Vancouver. In 2008, a tornado touched down near Vancouver Lake, cutting power to more than 125,000 homes. Are you and your family ready for a disaster that could knock out electricity, water, phones and roads for several days or weeks?

emergency preparedness checklist on a clipboard

If a major earthquake or flood hit our community today, would you be able to survive? Most of us are not ready.

No community will ever have enough firefighters, medics, police, public works and community health workers to fully address a catastrophic disaster. The answer is advance planning and family preparedness. Every household should:

  • Have an Emergency Plan
  • Build a Disaster Kit
  • Get Emergency Skills Training (CERT)

Involve all family members in disaster planning. Set a deadline for completion and make it a priority. Go to and get started.

Make a Plan

  • Prepare your family by making an emergency plan.
  • Download the Family Emergency Plan at, and fill it out.
  • Plan for the care of pets and family members who need help. Learn how to shut off your utilities.
  • Learn the school, workplace and daycare emergency plan.
  • Gather family members and discuss the plan. Establish a meeting place. Practice your plan twice a year.
  • Identify an out-of-area contact for your family.

Build a Disaster Kit

  • Water – 1-1.5 gallons per day per person
  • Non-perishable food to last the family for 7-10 days
  • Radio with spare batteries or hand crank-powered
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Dust masks
  • Moist towelettes, toilet paper and other sanitary needs
  • Plastic garbage bags
  • Tools to turn off utilities
  • Bleach – unscented ordinary
  • Matches/lighter in watertight container
  • Candles
  • Spare change of clean clothing
  • Dry blankets
  • Storage containers
  • Disposable eating and drinking utensils
  • Local map
  • Pet food & supplies
  • Whistle to call for help
  • Don’t forget your medications

Be Ready

If you can’t afford to gather all of the items you need at one time, print the list and work toward it each week.

Emergency Preparedness for Businesses

Business Emergency Response Plan

The International Fire Code requires certain occupancies to develop a Fire Safety and Evacuation Plan. This plan should include initial and ongoing training for employees with fire emergency procedures which include:

  • Evacuation routes, assembly points and an accountability system to know who is out and what critical staff members may have remained inside with patients
  • Means of reporting fires/emergencies to the fire department and who will serve as a liaison to the fire department when they arrive
  • List of major fire/life safety hazards associated with the use of the building (i.e. hazardous materials)

Be safe at your place of business by developing an evacuation and emergency response plan. It’s important to review emergency plans with your employees, practice your evacuation plan and update it regularly. In order to help you develop your own plan, we have provided a template to get you started.