April is Tsunami Awareness month and as we prepare for Seaside's April 19th Tsunami drill, it is a good time to think about being ready for a Tsunami or any other emergency or disaster. In addition to the threat of a Tsunami, we may be hit by a severe wind storm with power outages, flooding with mud slides, an earthquake, a hazardous material spill and yes even the possibility of terrorism. The fear of disaster whether natural or man made can create fear and anxiety throughout our communities. Being prepared and knowing what to do will prevent this from happening to you.

Over the next few weeks I will provide you with information that will assist you in developing a plan and knowing what to do in the event of an emergency or disaster. This week I want to talk about "Developing a Plan".

The first thing to do is include everyone in your family in the planning process. The more they know the better prepared they will be even if family members are not all together at the time of an emergency or disaster. Things to think about in developing a plan include:

• Learn about the types of disasters that can happen in your area. Contact your Police Department, City Hall or Clatsop County for information and brochures on planning for disasters.

• Talk to your employer and children's school about their emergency response plan.

• Discuss with your household the types of emergencies that may occur and what to do.

• Draw a floor plan of your home and identify escape routes.

• Post emergency numbers by the phone and teach your children how to use them.

• Identify two meeting spots in the event you are separated during the emergency.

• Know where the main switches are to shut off power, gas, and water.

• Know where your emergency shelter (Seaside Convention Center, Seaside High School, Broadway Middle School, & Seaside Heights Elementary School) is and different routes to get there.

• Take a CPR or First Aid class.

• Reduce your economic impact by reviewing your insurance policy, health insurance policy and developing an emergency fund.

• Don't forget to think about your pets. Have a plan because shelters do not allow animals.

While these are not all the things you can do, by following these tips, you will be better prepared to deal with emergencies and disasters that may occur. For Seaside residents, watch for your Tsunami Preparedness Newsletter soon to be mailed to all our water customers. Next week we will look at emergency planning for people with special needs. Until then remember the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared".

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