SCRAPS, Spokane Emergency Management host emergency planning workshop
In the wake of one of the worst wildfire seasons Washington has seen, Spokane Emergency Management and SCRAPS are putting on a workshop that will help residents prepare for sheltering in place – staying indoors – following natural or man-made disasters.
“We are looking at scenarios like a train derailment, an ice storm and also wildfires,” said Janet Dixon, SCRAPS public relations manager. “If you have a pet, do you have what you need in case you have to stay in your house for a week?”
The free workshop will be Tuesday at SCRAPS, 6815 E. Trent Ave.
Staff from SCRAPS will focus on disaster preparedness for animal owners. Gerry Bozarth, mitigation and recovery specialist for Spokane Emergency Management, will talk about preparing a household for a potential disaster.
“I’m going to be talking about the importance of being prepared to be on your own for 72 hours,” Bozarth said. In case of heavy smoke outside, it’s essential to have a plan for how to best keep at least one room inside the house smoke free.
“Would you know which room to pick and how to seal it up? That’s what we will be talking about,” Bozarth said.
Another topic is preparing a family emergency plan, including an out-of-state contact.
“Sometimes you can’t call across town, but you can call out of state,” Bozarth said.
Though the focus is on staying at home, Dixon said it’s extremely important that owners of bigger animals like horses, pigs and goats have a plan for taking the animals somewhere safe during an evacuation.
“Ask yourself if you have a trailer to take the animal somewhere and find out where to go,” Dixon said. “Now is the time to plan for a disaster – before it happens.”
It’s also important to stay up to date on required shots for animals, and to know where the vaccination records are.
“Make sure you know where the paperwork is and that you can easily get your hands on them,” Dixon said.
September is Disaster Preparedness Month and the workshop is part of an awareness campaign sponsored by Spokane Emergency Management.
Every week, a short video about emergency preparedness will be posted at www.spokanecounty.org – residents who register on the website and watch all the videos will be part of a drawing for prizes each week. The grand prize is a personal preparedness kit, the winner will be picked at the end of the September.
Participants in Tuesday’s workshop will receive brochures and checklists that will make it easier to prepare their household.
Dixon said this is also an excellent time to make sure a pet is microchipped so it can be identified in case it runs away during a disaster.
“Remember, if you have to stay indoors you can’t come down to the shelter and look for your pet,” Dixon said.