Learn What Disasters or Emergencies May Occur in Your Area
These events can range from those affecting only you and your family, such as a home fire or medical emergency, to those affecting your entire community, such as an earthquake or flood.
- Attend local American Red Cross preparedness events and trainings.
- Identify how local authorities will notify you during a disaster and how you will get information, whether through local radio, TV or NOAA Weather Radio stations and channels. Know the difference between different weather alerts, such as watches and warnings and what actions to take in each.
- Know what actions to take to protect you and your family during disasters that occur in areas where you travel or have moved recently. For example, if you travel to a place where earthquakes are common and you are not familiar with them, make sure you know what to do to protect yourself should one occur.
- When a major disaster occurs, your community can change in an instant. Loved ones may be hurt and emergency response is likely to be delayed. Make sure at least one member of your household is trained in first aid and CPR, and knows how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). This training is useful in many emergency situations.
- Share what you have learned with your family, household and neighbors and encourage them to be informed.
How Prepared is Western Washington?
Western Washington is home to the most types of possible disasters. Whether an earthquake, fire or another emergency arises, most residents agree it is important to be prepared for any circumstance.
- Economists estimate every $1 spent on preparedness saves $6-$7 in response and recovery.
- Forty-seven percent of Western Washington survey respondents agree it is "very important to be prepared," but responsibility for loved ones and peace of mind are also common preparedness motivators.
- The primary reason people are not prepared is because "they just hadn't thought of it."
- More than half of Western Washington survey respondents do not have an emergency preparedness kit for their vehicle, yet commute on a regular basis.
- Less than half of Western Washington survey respondents have a preparedness plan.
Contact Family After a Disaster
Major disasters such as fires, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods may leave traditional communication lines broken, disrupted or overloaded. Families are separated, and those outside the affected areas may not be able to connect with loved ones.
The Red Cross helps fill the information void by networking our chapters across the United States and around the world to determine the welfare of your loved ones.
During large-scale events, the American Red Cross activates the Safe and Well List, an international database where families and individuals affected by disaster can register as "safe and well." Concerned family and friends can search the list of those who have registered. Family connection support is always available through local Red Cross chapters.
Before calling the Red Cross, please have the following information available:
- Your full name and address
- Your relationship to the person sought
- The reason for loss of contact
- The reason for your inquiry
The full name of the person you’re trying to locate along with their:
- Birth date and place of birth
- Last known address
- The date and circumstances of last news and/or communication
- Any pre-existing medical conditions
Safe and Well
- After a disaster, letting your family and friends know you are safe and well can bring your loved ones great peace of mind. The Safe and Well website is designed to help make communication easier.
- Register yourself as "Safe and Well" or search for loved ones who have registered through our Safe and Well service.
Contact Family Around the World
Whether it’s been weeks or years, the American Red Cross can help you find and re-connect with loved ones around the world after natural disasters, war, civil unrest or other international catastrophes. We also link family members with detainees, POWs and internally displaced persons and can assist families who were separated during the Holocaust, WWII and its aftermath (1933 – 1957).
The Red Cross helps families in a number of ways:
- Tracing family members who have been separated by disaster or armed conflict.
- Sending Red Cross messages when normal channels of communication have broken down.
- Helping to connect families in vulnerable situations who have no other way to re-establish contact with relatives overseas.