The verdant Puget Sound area falls between the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges and features lakes, rivers and rolling hills. But this lush area of varied terrain also sits atop the Ring of Fire – the site of the majority of the world’s volcanoes and where the majority of the planet’s earthquakes occur, as well. Residents in the greater Puget Sound area need to prepare for ecological disasters, including earthquakes, volcanoes, fires, storms and floods, and health emergencies, including accidents, cardiopulmonary events and pandemics. From emergency training to having an emergency kit and from having a disaster plan to readying emergency supplies for the entire family, these five ways to be disaster ready in Seattle can help you and your family prepare for the worst case scenario.
Seattle Red Cross
1900 25th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98144
(206) 323-2345

The first step to disaster preparedness is adequate training and education. To ensure that you’ve received sufficient training for a natural disaster, medical emergency or terrorism event, start with the Seattle Red Cross. This organization provides emergency kits, a disaster training course and courses in first aid, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), AED (automated external defibrillator) and even pet first aid. Classes offered by the Seattle Red Cross are available for both professional and volunteer responders and certified and non-certified training options are available. The “Be Red Cross Ready” program is available for individuals or families and provides information for evacuations during natural disasters. Emergency preparedness supplies are also available at the Red Cross store.

Seattle Emergency Management
Seattle Emergency Operations Center
105 5th Ave. S.
Seattle, WA 98104
(206) 233-5076

Seattle is in an earthquake-prone area and preparing your home for an earthquake is an integral part of disaster readiness in the Emerald City. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management provides classes and resources to support the Seattle community during an emergency – but you should begin in your own home by “earthquake proofing” your house. Seattle Emergency Management recommends going on a 30-minute “Hazard Hunt” to find items in your home that have a high likelihood of causing damage or injury. Check your cabinets to ensure that they’re properly latched and secured; ensure that items in your storage, including solvents, toxins and poisons, are safely secured; and know what steps to take if potentially hazardous chemicals are spilled.

King County Emergency Preparedness 
King County Office of Emergency Management
3511 NE 2nd Street
Renton, WA 98056
(206) 296-0100

During any disaster, you’ll need to be able to travel safely, know how to avoid environmental hazards and have access to safe drinking water. The King County Public Health Department provides a checklist of items for disaster preparedness for issues ranging from bioterrorism to pandemics and from emergency medical services to violence and injury prevention. Start with King County’s general safety tips for navigating a disaster safely, including having a flashlight readily accessible – and using it when walking in dark buildings – and having sturdy shoes readily available to walk through debris and other emergency conditions safely. The health department also provides education about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning – and how to avoid it – as well as information about preparing safe drinking water for a disaster.

Related: School Safety Tips For Younger Kids

The Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division
20 Aviation Dr.
Camp Murray, WA 98430
(253) 512-7000

The Washington Military Department Emergency Management Division has a “prepare in a year” program to help the entire family be ready during any disaster. This program entails taking one hour each month to focus on key areas of home preparation. The program begins with an action plan for multiple natural disasters, including tsunamis, chemical releases, volcanoes and earthquakes. Also included in the program are important documents to have, what to have in an emergency or “comfort” kit, fire safety issues and steps for fire safety.

Seattle Office of Emergency Management
(206) 684-2489

The Seattle Office of Emergency Management wants residents to plan ahead for all members of the family, including children, seniors, those with medical needs, those who are hearing or vision impaired, those who have mobility issues, pets and service animals. The Office of Emergency Management provides a Family Disaster Plan that all members of the family should learn and practice. The organization also provides tips for assembling an emergency kit that should last for seven to 10 days. The kit includes five essential items: food, including canned food items and high-calorie items such as energy bars; battery-powered flashlights with spare batteries; at least one change of warm, dry clothing; a first aid kit; and a supply of water, including one gallon per person per day. The organization also provides tips for a car emergency kit and a work and school safety kit.

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Tracy Campion is a freelance writer covering all things Seattle. Her work can be found on