Astoria Fire & Rescue would like to remind citizens of the importance of being prepared and knowing how to respond to potential emergencies and natural disasters. There are three key things to do: prepare emergency supply kit(s), prepare a family emergency plan, and be informed about different types of emergencies that can occur and their appropriate responses.

All citizens should have two types of emergency supply kits: one kit for everything needed to stay put, and a second lightweight kit that can be taken in case of evacuation. Emergency kit(s) should be customized to fit individual family needs.

Basic supplies for an emergency supply kit should include: one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation; at least a three day supply of non-perishable food and a can opener; a flashlight, battery-powered radio, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio with tone alert and extra batteries for each item (periodically rotate extra batteries to be sure they work when needed); a first aid kit; a whistle to signal for help; a dust mask or cotton T-shirt to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place; moist towelettes; garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation; a wrench or pliers to turn off utilities; local maps; extra cash; and identification.

Create a family emergency and communication plan. If a family is not together when a disaster occurs, plans should be made on how to communicate with each other. Consider a plan where each family member calls or e-mails the same friend or relative. In an emergency it might be easier to make a long-distance phone call than to call across town, so an out-of-town contact may be better.

Stay and shelter-in-place, or evacuate? Understand and plan for both possibilities. Use common sense and available information to determine if there is immediate danger. In an emergency, local authorities may or may not immediately be able to provide information on what is happening and what to do. Watch television, listen to the radio or check the Internet often for information or official instructions. Anyone specifically told to evacuate or seek medical treatment should do so immediately.   

For information on preparing for an emergency, contact the American Red Cross at (503) 325-4721 and go to www.ready.gov or www.oregonredcross.org

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