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Your chances of surviving a disaster rest largely on what you do to prepare.

"Fate favors the prepared" — Louis Pasteur

Getting prepared for disasters is easy but you need to resolve to take action. The tools you need to help prepare can be found here. You'll discover many "how-to" aids and external links to recommended sources. Make time to review them and create a plan for becoming more resilient.

Recommended actions

Individuals and families

  • Create a plan for how you and your family will respond during a disaster.
  • Teach family members when and how to shut off utilities.
  • Each year practice a fire drill and a "Drop, Cover, and Hold On" earthquake drill.
  • Work toward having at least a two week supply of food, water, and emergency supplies. Include supplies for your pets.
  • Identify and protect important documents.

Vulnerable populations

  • Seniors: Identify the essential things you will need to survive for at least two weeks if assistance cannot get to you.
  • Children: Involve children in your preparedness actions, for example, pack supplies, practice drills and review the actions you want them to take in different emergency situations.
  • Individuals with disabilities or others with access and functional needs: Develop a plan and a personal support network of family, friends, and caregivers who can help you in an emergency. If you use powered medical equipment, plan alternate ways to charge your life-supporting communication and assistive technology devices.
  • Animals: Make plans now for what you will do with your pets if you have to evacuate suddenly. Check to make sure you have safe carriers for each pet.

CMS regulated healthcare entities

  • Review our local CMS regulated entity emergency preparedness FAQs and algorithm.
  • Emergency Plan – Develop an emergency plan based on a risk assessment and using an "all-hazards" approach.
  • Policies and Procedures – Develop and implement policies and procedures based on the emergency plan and risk assessment that are reviewed and updated at least annually.
  • Communications Plan – Develop and maintain an emergency preparedness communication plan that complies with federal, state and local laws.
  • Training and Testing Program – Develop and maintain training and testing programs, including initial training in policies and procedures. Facilities must conduct drills and exercises to test the emergency plan or participate in an actual incident that tests the plan.


  • Identify workplace hazards that could cause injury, property damage, business disruption, and/or environmental impact.
  • Examine ways to prevent or minimize hazards and reduce risks.
  • Complete a BCP – Business Continuity Plan.
  • Develop back-up plans for loss of power, communications and access to the Internet.
  • Communicate your plan and expected actions to all employees.


  • Create an all-hazards response plan to safeguard students and staff.
  • Communicate the plan and expected actions to students, school staff, and parents.
  • Build grab-and-go kits for possible evacuations.
  • Practice emergency response drills, e.g., earthquake, fire, and active shooter.
  • Maintain plans with annual updates.

Outreach and Education

  • Look through our Emergency Preparedness Community Engagement Catalog. Available digital and hard copy education materials include the 2 Weeks Ready pocket plan and Prepare! Resource Guide. Other materials cover topics such as drinking water access and storage, disaster sanitation, air quality, and wildfire readiness and evacuation. Involve the kids with activity booklets. View comic books that help explain preparedness and response to various Oregon natural disasters from a teen perspective. Test your earthquake safety knowledge. 
  • Request Washington County Emergency Management to assist with an event or provide education materials by completing our Emergency Preparedness Community Event Request Form
  • Get familiar with Take 5 to Survive, a campaign addressing two real obstacles to getting prepared - lack of time and lack of money. Take 5 breaks down what can seem like a monumental task into bite-sized pieces that can be accomplished over time.
  • Check out the Preparing Together Discussion Guide and Toolkit from any library in Washington County. This regionally developed program includes a kit with teaching materials that anyone can present to groups they support.
  • Neighborhood Ready is a program that keeps communities strong by connecting neighbors so they can work together to deter crime, prepare for and respond to major storms, earthquakes and other emergencies, clean up their neighborhood and socialize. Connected neighborhoods are not only safe, they're fun. Organizing your neighbors, inventorying their skills, and identifying resources are components of this program. Use the Neighborhood Ready guide to connect with your neighbors by hosting a Neighborhood Ready meeting.
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