Preparedness Tips

Summer 2018 Prepare in a Year 

Utility Safety - Natural Gas

Natural gas leaks and explosions are responsible for a significant number of fires following any major earthquake. It is vital that all household members know how to shut off the natural gas.

Preparing to shut off the natural gas: 

  • Locate the shut-off valve (see illustration). Make sure this valve will turn.
  • To shut off the gas, turn the valve 90°, or 1/4 turn, so that it crosses the pipe (see illustration).
  • If your valve is rusted open, do not put WD-40™ lubricant on it. It may corrode the O-rings that allow the valve to turn.
  • Attach a wrench to the meter or to the wall directly behind the meter. Choose a crescent wrench that is at least 12" long.  Adjust it to fit your valve before hanging it behind the meter in case it rusts. (Wrenches made for this task are available). 

Shutting off the gas after an earthquake:

  • Shut off the gas immediately only if you smell the characteristic odor of gas, you hear a hissing sound, and/or you notice the meter dials spinning more rapidly than normal.
  • Do not use matches, lighters, open flame appliances, or operate any electrical switches until you are sure no gas leaks exist. Sparks from electrical switches could ignite the gas.
  • If you smell natural gas, immediately get everyone out of and away from the house. Open the windows and doors to provide ventilation. Shut off the gas at the meter.

Source: WA Emergency Management Prepare In a Year

Gas meter with image showing how to turn off
image from interactive video

You Are the HELP until HELP Arrives

Life-threatening emergencies can happen fast and emergency responders aren’t always nearby. 
You may be able to save a life by taking simple actions immediately. 
You Are the Help Until Help Arrives.
Click on the links below to learn how you can help:


Professional responders will not be available to assist your neighborhood after a major disaster—you become the first responder. If individuals and their neighbors are prepared to mutually assist one another, lives can be saved and property can be spared.

A preparedness presentation can be provided to your neighborhood with an explanation of Pierce County Neighborhood Emergency Teams (PC NET) and Map Your Neighborhood Your neighborhood determines what program to use, materials to start either program are provided.

Pierce County Neighborhood Emergency Teams is a facilitated process that takes place over a year and provides neighbors with information and tools necessary to work together for an effective response as a team, following emergencies and disasters.

Pierce County Emergency Team logo  Houses, trees, community stores

Map Your Neighborhood is an abbreviated version of the Neighborhood Emergency Teams, with a focus on mapping the neighborhood and identifying what  neighbors are willing to do in an event of an emergency. Less time is required for this program

Map Your Neighborhood Logo
Fireworks display

4th of July

The Pierce County Fire Protection Bureau has information about legal and illegal fireworks, when fireworks can be shot off in Pierce County, Cities and Towns.


Celebrate Safely:

Be Prepared… before you light fireworks
  • Only use fireworks purchased from state licensed fireworks stands—illegal fireworks are subject to immediate confiscation and possible criminal charges.
  • Store fireworks out of children’s reach.
  • Keep pets safe indoors.
  • Always keep water handy.
Be Safe… when lighting fireworks
  • Only adults should light fireworks.
  • Only use fireworks outdoors.
  • Do not throw fireworks or hold in your hand.
  • Protect your eyes. Light one firework at a time and move away quickly—never relight a “dud”.
Be Responsible… after you finish
  • Soak used fireworks in water.
  • Be considerate and clean up used fireworks.
  • Remember firework debris belong in the trash, NOT the recycle bin.
Keep matches and lighters away from children. 
Firewise Logo

2018 Wildfire Research Fact Sheet series begins with Fire Spread on Ember-Ignited Decks

Wind-blown embers generated during wildfires are the single biggest hazard posed to homes, and homeowners should never overlook the potential risk that an attached deck can create. Nothing that can ignite should be stored under a deck. An ignited deck can result in the ignition of combustible siding or glass breakage in a sliding glass door. The research detailed in April's Wildfire Research Fact Sheet provides low-cost construction changes that can minimize fire spread on ember-ignited decks.
Recent testing by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety has important findings that can help minimize risk from wind-blown embers in a wildfire. The 2018 five-part Wildfire Research Fact Sheet series produced by the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) Firewise USA® program and the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) will run from April thru August.
Each fact sheet in the series provides residents living in areas prone to wildfires with important research findings that should be implemented at their homes. They also provide forestry agencies and fire departments with a tool that can be utilized in their educational outreach efforts by customizing the fact sheets with an agency/department logo.
Source: Blog Post created by Cathy Prudhomme  on Apr 25, 2018

Preparedness Academy - 2018 

Follow above link to read more details of these courses and  how to register

Disaster First Aid
If your neighborhood team wants to host a Disaster First Aid class or  register for a scheduled class please contact our office.  

August 11, Saturday-      2501 South 35th St. Pierce County EOC, Tacoma
October 20, Saturday -   Chapel Hill Presbyterian, Gig Harbor

Psychological First Aid 6 - 8:30 PM 
taught by Washington Chaplain Corps

Oct 17, Wednesday -   Orting Valley Fire and Rescue Headquarters, Orting
Sept 25, Tuesday - Chapel Hill Presbyterian, Gig Harbor

How to Communicate with Neighborhood Emergency Teams Using FRS - Family Radio Service/Walkie-talkie's During Disasters

Learn how to use walkie-talkie in your neighborhood during a disaster. Common language, stations to use, maintaining the radio are some of the topics covered. Course is available upon request. Contact us to arrange this course.

Preparedness Talk

Have a group, club, PTA, team, that could use a reminder about what they can do to care for their loved ones in the event of a disaster.  Schedule a one hour talk through Pierce County Emergency Management. Contact Us

Self Study Courses from FEMA

The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) offers on-line courses through their Emergency Management Institute. The courses are self-paced and designed for people who have emergency management responsibilities and the general public. All are offered free-of-charge to those who qualify for enrollment. Here is a list of courses that may be of interest:
IS-10.A:  Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness

IS-366.a Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters

IS-394.a Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster

IS-907   Active Shooter: What You Can Do
National Night Out 35th Anniversary Year Logo

National Night Out

National Night Out is an annual community-building campaign that promotes police-community partnerships and neighborhood camaraderie to make our neighborhoods safer, more caring places to live. National Night Out enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while bringing back a true sense of community. Furthermore, it provides a great opportunity to bring police and neighbors together under positive circumstances.

Millions of neighbors take part in National Night Out across thousands of communities from all fifty states, U.S. territories and military bases worldwide on the first Tuesday in August . Neighborhoods host block parties, festivals, parades, cookouts and various other community events with safety demonstrations, seminars, youth events, visits from emergency personnel, exhibits and much, much more.

If your neighborhood is meeting for a fun BBQ or desert social on National Night Out -  August 7, contact our office for  preparedness kit lists and a handout with ideas on how to help each other out in the event of a disaster. Remember, you are the Help until Help arrives.   

Yellow banners with "If we can't reach you...we can't alert you

Pierce County ALERT

The county cannot send an emergency message
to your cell phone via text or voice if you have not registered your cell phone. 
Please take the time to register today!  Let others know of this service.
Have out of state family members register using your Pierce County address. They will get any ALERTS that are impacting your household or community. This can be one method of letting loved ones know of your status.

Dog carrying food, real photo after hurricane in US.

Pet Preparedness Care and
Pet First Aid

Links listed below have information to help you be prepared to care for your pet before a disaster so to be able to care for your pet during a disaster, including Pet First Aid.
Humane Society
ASPCA – American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Center for Disease Control
AVMA  - American Veterinary Medical Association
Red Cross 
WASART – Washington State Animal Response Team
Washington State Emergency Management

Citizen Corp

Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County 

If you are interested in learning more about Citizen Corps of Pierce County contact David Alger, current Chair of Citizen Corps

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Phone: 253-798-6595


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