How to Prepare

There are many things you need to do before disaster strikes to help yourself and your family. Recent events have shown us how quickly things can disappear from your local store even when normal supply lines are not disrupted. The American Red Cross and the City of Seattle Office of Emergency Management are great resources to help. Start now with just one thing a month (PDF), perhaps your family disaster plan or storing water! 

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Be Informed

Learn what disasters or emergencies may occur in our area. Sign up to receive text, email, and phone alerts during emergencies with Alert Seattle, Alert King County and Smart 9-1-1, and tune into local radio AM 710 KIRO or NOAA Weather Radio.

Download these free mobile offline apps that work without connectivity (cell or wi-fi):

Other free mobile apps that do require wi-fi or cell signal:

Make a Disaster Plan

Develop a household plan to make sure that everyone knows what to do in the event of a disaster. Your plan should include the following information:

Use the Emergency Information template (PDF) to start recording important information for your disaster plan and/or use Emergency Information cards (PDF) for family members to carry with them.

More information at: 

Gather Emergency Supplies

Putting together emergency supplies does not have to be difficult or expensive. The City of Seattle recommends that you have enough supplies to last you 7-10 days. You could also have a small to-go kit in case you need to quickly leave your home. Having kits at work and in your car is also a good idea. To get you started, here are five things that are absolutely necessary to have.

Water (buy any commercially sealed water for no expiration date!):


Light Source

Warm & Dry Clothes

First Aid Kit

After the five basics, what you stock is up to you. The information below will give you a number of things you can add and some fun and easy ways to put them together, not only for your home, but your car, workplace and school.  The most important thing is to start.  Don't be one of the people who after the disaster says, "I wish I had put supplies together." 

Download Information and brochures

More information at: 

Know How to Shut-Off Utilities

After a disaster where utilities have been disrupted, there may be a need to turn off certain utilities in order to control additional damage from the disaster. This usually involves turning off one or more of the following; Natural Gas, Water and Electricity. Emergency service providers and Utility employees will be overwhelmed following the disaster, so it’s important that your family and your neighbors learn how and where to control your utilities (PDF). 

Learn Urban Survival Skills: Twin Bucket Toilet 

When the earth shakes, pipes break. Water and sewer failure is immediate after any major power outage, especially after an earthquake - and the fix is longterm. Be prepared to handle your household's waste and keep everyone healthy!

See more Urban Survival Skills resources from Seattle Emergency Hubs.