Personal & Family Preparedness

There are many things that people, families, and businesses can do to prepare themselves for the impact of a natural or man-made disaster or emergency.  Many aspects of preparedness are common to all hazards. 

Being prepared can reduce fear, anxiety, and losses that accompany disasters. Disasters disrupt hundreds of thousands of lives every year and each disaster has lasting effects, both to people and property. Communities, families, and individuals should know what to do in the event of any disaster or emergency, such as a fire or during severe weather events. 

If a disaster occurs in your community, local government and disaster-relief organizations will try to help you, but you need to be ready as well.  Local responders may not be able to reach you immediately, or they may need to focus their efforts elsewhere.

You should also be ready to be self-sufficient for at least two weeks.  Island County Department of Emergency Management recommends having at least two weeks of supplies and encourages residents to store more supplies if they are able to. Due to the unique geography of our region, it may be difficult to get supplies to our islands in the event of a significant disaster. This may mean providing for your own shelter, first aid, food, water, and sanitation. 

Build A Kit

It is very important to assemble an emergency supply kit. Following a disaster, help may not arrive for days or weeks depending on what has happened. 

There are a few types of kits:

  • Home: Keep this kit in a designated place and have it ready in case you have to leave your home quickly. Make sure all family members know where the kit is kept.
  • Work: Be prepared to shelter at work for at least 24 hours. Your work kit should include food, water and other necessities like medicines, as well as comfortable walking shoes, stored in a “grab and go” case.
  • Car: In case you are stranded, keep a kit of emergency supplies in your car.

FEMA offers a downloadable list of supplies for an emergency kit.

Make A Plan

Planning considerations:

  • How will I receive emergency alerts?
  • Where will I shelter?
  • What is my evacuation route?
  • How will I communicate with my family?
  • What medical needs does my family have?

Think about everyone in your household and the items they need. 

Next, work on a family communication plan. During a disaster local phone lines are usually unavailable. Remember Text is best! offers a "Make a Family Plan" form.

Once you have a plan, practice it with your family.

Low Cost/ No Cost

Research local hazards in the area

  • Talk to your loved ones about evacuation planning and communications in an emergency
  • Practice your emergency plans
  • Add one extra non-perishable item to your cart each grocery trip
  • Sign up for emergency alerts
  • Download Island Ready mobile app
  • Store important documents in a safe location

Extra Tips

  • Check, rotate and restock your food supply every daylight savings.
  • Evaluate your families needs every year and update your kit as needed.
  • Keep food and water in a cool, dry place.

Island County Preparedness Phone App

Island County DEM now has a mobile phone app, Island Ready, that will provide valuable tools for Island County Citizens to prepare for emergencies and disasters.

Phone app features include:

  • Share your status with your selected contacts with the push of a button.
  • Receive critical emergency alerts via push notification.
  • Locate Island County's emergency shelters.
  • Display up-to-date evacuation route maps.
  • Get the latest news and weather for the Island County area.
  • Report Damage or Hazards
  • Create a personalized Emergency Preparedness Plan by answering five basic questions.