Emergency Preparedness

Check out the following links for more information about getting prepared for an emergency or disaster.

Have a Family Plan

  • Designate an out-of-area contact person, far enough away so he/she won’t be involved in the same emergency.
  • Have at least a seven day supply of food, water, medications and other special needs for your family. Don’t forget your pets!
  • Be sure your disaster preparedness kit contains light sticks, flashlights and radios with extra batteries.
  • Make copies of vital records and secure in a safe place—safety deposit, or fire/flood proof box.
  • Build an emergency supply kit for your car, workplace, and your child’s school.
  • Sign up for Pierce County alert to receive emergency messages on your cell phones, work phones, text-to-cell, e-mail accounts, etc. You can register online or get more information at the Pierce County website or call (253) 798-6595.

Power Outages

Both wind storms and snow storms can cause power outages. Preparing now can help avoid some of the problems.

  • Have a corded telephone—cordless phones don’t work when the power is out.
  • Have a safe alternative heat source and supply of fuel. Never burn charcoal or use a generator indoors.
  • Avoid using candles—they can cause fires.
  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances, computers, etc., except the refrigerator or freezer. Leave one lamp on so you will know when the power comes back on.
  • Never use gas ovens, ranges, barbecues, or portable or propane heaters for indoor heating—they use oxygen and create carbon monoxide.
  • Use and store food carefully:
  • Use food first that can spoil.
  • Keep doors to refrigerators and freezers closed—a refrigerator freezer will keep food frozen up to a day; a separate fully-loaded freezer up to 2 days.
  • When in doubt, throw it out!


If you live in an area where floods occur, do the following:

  • Plan and discuss with your family where you will go and the route to take if you have to evacuate your home.
  • Purchase flood insurance and take photos of your valuables.
  • Maintain at least a half tank of gas in your car at all times.
  • If you are told to leave—don’t wait—evacuate! Grab your go-kit, your family and your pets and get to higher ground.
  • Do not try to walk or drive through flooded waters— even 6 inches of moving water can knock you off your feet and cars can be swept away in 2 feet of water.

Winter Storms

Winter storms bring many of the above hazards but also include additional concerns.

  • Prepare your home for cold weather—wrap pipes, and repair leaks in the roof and around doors and windows.
  • Be sure your fireplace functions properly.
  • If you have a kerosene heater, refuel it outside and keep it at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Reduce the temperature in your home to conserve fuel and heat only the area of your home you need to use—keep other parts closed off.
  • Dress in layers—several layers of lighter-weight, warm clothing keeps you warmer than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear mittens rather than gloves and keep your head covered.
  • Eat regularly—food provides calories that help maintain body heat.
  • Have rock salt or sand for traction on ice and keep it next to your snow shovel.
  • Do not drive unnecessarily.
  • If you must drive, be sure you have snow tires, winter tires, and/or snow chains (and know how to put them on).
  • Let people know where you are going and the route you are taking—stay on main roads.
    Have extra clothing, food, water, and a blanket for each person in your vehicle.
  • Carry a cell phone.
  • Make sure you have jumper cables and flares.
  • Other emergency supplies include a shovel and kitty litter or sand for traction and a coffee can with a lid and toilet paper for hygiene use.
  • If you get stuck, stay inside your vehicle.
  • Use a bright distress flag or your hazard lights to draw attention.
  • If trapped in a blizzard, clear your tail pipe and run your engine and heater for 10 minutes every hour.
  • At night, keep the dome light on so rescuers can find you.

Detailed information can be obtained on the Pierce County website.