Emergency Management

Be Prepared

Winter Storms

Snow and Ice

  • If a storm is forecasted: ensure you have a full tank of gas in your vehicle, enough food, water, adequate clothing/blankets and heating fuel (seasoned firewood, generator, etc.) in the event of power outages or if you be-come isolated.
  • Maintain ventilation when using kerosene heaters to avoid build-up of toxic fumes. Re-fuel kerosene heaters outside and keep them at least three feet from flammable objects.
  • Keep snow shovels and sand to remove snow and help with traction.
  • Insulate your pipes to prevent from freezing.
  • If temperatures drop below freezing, prevent from pipes freezing by turning on faucets to allow a slow drip.


  • Before a windstorm conduct a home safety evaluation, including garage door and nearby trees. If you have an electric garage door opener, locate the manual override.
  • If you are indoors during a windstorm, move away from windows or other objects that could fall.
  • If you are outdoors, move into a building and avoid downed electricity power lines, utility poles and trees.
  • If you are driving, pull off the road away from trees, overpasses and powerlines.


  • Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
  • Avoid river valleys or low-lying areas.
  • Be alert when driving and watch for collapsed pavement, mud or fallen rocks.

Earthquake Preparedness

Earthquake Preparedness
Do you know what to do when the ground begins to shake? Here’s a quick primer: 

Drop Cover Hold

If you’re indoors, drop, cover, and hold on:

  • Drop to the floor.
  • Take cover under a desk, table or other sturdy furniture that’s positioned away from windows, fireplaces, wood stoves, and heavy furniture or appliances that may fall during the shaking.
  • Hold onto your “cover” furniture and be prepared to move with it; remain here until the shaking stops.

If you’re outside:

  • Go to an open area where you’re out of the way of falling debris; remain here until the shaking stops.
  • If driving, pull to the side of the road and remain stopped until the quake is over.

Once the shaking stops: 

  • Shut off gas, water and electricity if lines are damaged.
  • Assume all downed power lines are live and steer clear.
  • Tune in to the radio or TV for instructions from emergency providers.
  • Use phones only for life-threatening emergencies.
  • Expect and be ready for aftershocks.

Pet Preparedness

Do you have an emergency plan for your pets? 
Pet PreparednessYour home is not only a safe haven for your family, but also for your pets. When disaster strikes, people often have no other option than to leave their homes. Depending on the severity of the disaster, you may be away from your home for a few hours or a few months. So what happens to the furry, four-legged members of your family? Here are some tips to help you prepare. 

  • Take time now to identify potential shelter sites or other safe havens where your pet could be housed temporarily. Many emergency shelters do not allow pets.
  • Make sure your pet wears a tag with up-to-date information. Your pet’s ID tag should contain his name, owner contact information, and any urgent medical conditions. Other ID items include license and vaccination tags, or microchip IDs.
  • Prepare a pet evacuation kit containing a pet carrier, collar, leash, harness, bedding, food/water dishes, medications, toys, pet first aid kit, and at least a three-day supply of food and water.
  • It’s always preferable to take your pet with you in an emergency, but if you must leave your pet behind:
    • Put him in a secure area in your home.
    • Leave him at least 10 days of dry food and several water dishes.
    • Place signs on doors and windows describing the type and number of pets inside and providing owner contact information.
  • Be prepared to describe your pet; having a photo of your pet can be especially helpful in reuniting pets and their owners.

Technology Preparedness

Computers, tablets, smart phones, and social media make connecting with friends and family easier than ever before. Use these tools safely and appropriately.

Leave Phone Lines Free in a Disaster

  • Resist the urge to call others if it’s not an emergency.
  • Staying off the phone can save a life by allowing 911 calls to go through.

Communicate in Different Ways

  • Communicating with loved ones will be a high priority in a disaster, but circumstances may impact your ability to reach them.
  • If phone lines are overloaded, texting may still work.
  • Make sure you have alternate ways to contact everyone.

Cyber Security

  • Don’t access sensitive accounts like banking or online shopping on public Wi-Fi or unsecured networks. This can leave you subject to identity theft and computer viruses.
  • Install apps only from trusted sites. Malicious apps can share information without your knowledge.
  • Treat smart phones like a computer. Secure it with a password.
  • Make sure your home network is password protected or encrypted. Refer to the instruction manual for the wireless network router.
  • Lost or stolen devices can provide strangers with your personal or corporate data.

Enable encryption

  • Keep security software updated.
  • Think before you click, download, forward, or open anything. Beware of anything from unknown sources.

Flooding Preparedness

Before a Flood

  • Before you buy a home, investigate if there’s any history of flooding or if it’s in a mapped flood hazard zone.
  • Consider flood insurance, even if you live outside of a flood hazard zone.
  • Know your local evacuation routes and emergency assembly points

Prepare for a Flood

  • Pack an evacuation kit and create a family emergency plan.
  • Ask your local emergency management agency for sandbagging information.

During a Flood

  • Stay informed. Check radio, television or online for information.
  • Follow local officials’ instructions.
  • If a flash flood is likely, move to higher ground immediately. Do not wait for instructions to move.

If You Evacuate:

  • Unplug electrical equipment, but do not touch electrical equipment if you are wet or standing in water.
  • Secure your home. Close and lock doors and windows.
  • Avoid walking through water. If you must, walk where the water is not moving. Use a stick to check the firmness of the ground.
  • Water over roadways can hide sink holes or other dangerous conditions and lead to drowning. Turn around instead of driving through the water.
  • If floodwaters rise near you and you cannot drive safely, abandon the car. Move to higher ground if you can do so safely.
  • Follow recommended evacuation routes.

Family Preparedness

Make a Family Emergency Plan  

Disaster can strike anywhere at any time. Your family may not be together when it happens, so it is important to plan and practice for various scenarios.

  • Know the specific hazards in your community and how to respond.
  • Plan for how you will contact one another.
  • Plan for how you will get back together.
  • Teach children how to respond to emergencies.

Make an Emergency Kit for Home, Work and Vehicle  

You may not be at home when disaster strikes, keep a kit at home, at work and in your vehicle. Help yourself and your family remain self-sufficient during a disaster. Although putting a kit together may seem overwhelming, you can assemble a kit in small achievable steps. You may be surprised how many useful items you already have at home.

Emergency kits include:

  • Water, food, utensils and a can opener.
  • Cell phone charger.
  • Flashlight and extra batteries.
  • Safety items including a whistle, flashlight, multipurpose tool, hard-soled shoes, gloves and blankets
  • First aid kit including medications, baby wipes, sanitary items, and dust masks
  • Copies of personal documents including IDs, family contacts and financial documents.
  • Specialty supplies for children, pets, elderly and special needs family members

September is Back to School Month

  • If your child is at home without an adult, make sure they know how to reach you or another trusted adult.
  • Make sure your child knows how to respond to emergencies. Play the game to test your child’s emergency preparedness:

Develop a Family Emergency Plan: Research has proven that if you plan and practice in advance, you will be more resilient in an actual disaster.  Important: review and practice the plan with your entire family twice a year (during time changes, for example).

Here are a few tips:

  • Identify an out-of-state emergency contact and instruct family to check in with them during emergencies and if separated.
  • Complete the information on the opposite page and share with family and friends.
  • Identify evacuation routes from home and designate a nearby location to meet to make sure everyone is okay.
  • Know when and how to turn off water, electricity, and gas.
  • Know emergency procedures in your workplace and for your children’s schools.

Resources: There are many ways to help you become more resilient when disaster strikes. See some of the links below for specific hazard information, training and volunteer opportunities.

Specific Hazard Information

Know what to do before and during emergencies
Review hazards that can threaten your family and know how to respond. For example:

  • Know what risks are associated with common hazards
  • Take protective actions, such as Drop-Cover-Hold On during an earthquake
  • Receive CPR and first aid training
  • Donate blood

Functional Needs

Create a Support Team

  • Have an alert tag or bracelet to identify your medical condition/allergies.
  • “Buddy-up” with family or friends. Exchange contact info.
  • Give team members a spare key to your residence.
  • Make sure service animals know your team.
  • Know the location of more than one medical facility in the area.
  • Keep home medical equipment in good working order. Include copies of instruction manuals, etc. Show your team how to operate special equipment.

Make a “Go-Kit” & “Stay-Kit”

  • Create a contact list that includes medical providers’ information, medication dosage and schedule, copies of insurance and Medicare cards.
  • Keep one week’s supply of medications on-hand.
  • Have extra magnifiers, eyeglasses, hearing-aid batteries, oxygen tanks, and notepads.

Medicine Dependency Preparedness

  • Make an emergency supply kit with personal information.
  • Keep an updated medicine/allergy list at all times.
  • Create an evacuation plan, and leave early.
  • Give your medical care team your emergency plan.
  • Get a copy of your emergency diet.
  • Plan for back-up transportation; make a list of regional dialysis facilities.
  • Don’t wait before looking for services.
Tips when assisting functional needs
  • Always ask how you can help before attempting assistance.
  • The in-chair carry is the most desirable technique, if possible.
  • You may not be able to tell if a person is mentally ill until you have begun the evacuation procedure.
  • Speak naturally and directly to the individual.
  • Ask if they have limitations or problems that may affect their safety.
  • Ask/Look
    • For any type of special health instructions (bracelets/info posted)
    • Any medications they need.
    • Essential equipment and supplies (wheelchair, walker, oxygen, batteries, communication devices [head pointers, alphabet boards, speech synthesizers, etc.])

Fire Safety

Debris burning is the number one cause of fires started by humans. Never burn without a permit or on a windy day. Work through the correct department that has jurisdiction over the type of burning you want to do. Consider alternatives to burning, such as chipping or recycling.

Protect Your Home from Wildfire

  • Create a 30-foot non-combustible defensible space around your home. Stack firewood away from the home.
  • Trim branches along driveways so that they are 14 feet off the ground, 14 feet from other surfaces and 10 feet from the roof and power lines.
  • Use non-combustible roofing materials. Keep gutters free from debris and screen vents under eaves and decks.
  • Keep yards watered and mowed. Plant low growing, less flammable plants near homes.
  • Post your address in a location that is visible from all directions for at least 150 feet.

Prevent House Fires and Plan for Escape

  • Never use water to put out a grease fire. Use baking soda, smother with a tight lid, or use an approved fire extinguisher.
  • Install smoke alarms on the ceiling of every sleeping room, outside each separate sleeping area, and on every level of the home.
  • Test smoke alarm batteries monthly. Replace the smoke alarm every 10 years.
  • Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and only use on small fires.
  • Create a Home Escape Plan including at least two routes from each room and a safe meeting place. Remember to practice this plan with your family.


Prepare, Train and Volunteer

Your emergency preparedness is only part of the solution. The next step is seeing how you can help others. Here are some ways to volunteer:

  • Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) become licensed, trained and ready to respond in an emergency when amateur radio may be a reliable method of communication.
  • American Red Cross provides free emergency preparedness education, trains volunteers to respond to disasters and provides shelter, food, crisis counseling and recovery planning to disaster victims.
  • Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are community members trained in basic emergency response skills.
  • Fire Corps members provide public education and response support for local Fire/EMS departments in non-emergency capacities.
  • Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) is a neighborhood-based program that encourages and teaches preparedness, hazard mitigation and priority actions in an emergency.
  • Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) are health professionals who provide critical medical skills during an emergency.
  • Neighborhood Watch members partner with law enforcement to reduce crime.
  • SERV-OR is a state emergency registries of health professional volunteers.
  • Search and Rescue (SAR) organizations provide assistance for people who are lost or injured outdoors.
  • Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) perform public education, outreach and administrative tasks, so officers can respond to emergencies.
  • Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD) are coalitions of faith-based and civic/humanitarian organizations that provide services to people after disasters.
Mike Lueck
Emergency Management Coordinator
Related Links

American Red Cross - National

American Red Cross - Cascades Region

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

FEMA Region X

International Association of Emergency Managers

Office of Consolidated Emergency Management for Washington County

Oregon Emergency Management

Oregon Emergency Management Association

Oregon Humane Society

Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue

Homeowners Insurance Reviews

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