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Preparedness Tips Spring 2019 - April, May June

VolcanoREADY - May is Volcano Preparedness Month

Mount Rainier is much more than a mountain in the sky. Constructed of hundreds of lava flows, and capped by as much glacier ice as all other Cascade volcanoes combined, Rainier’s steep rubble slopes and abundant water make it prone to landslides and lahars (volcanic mud flows), especially during eruptions. Lahars are the biggest hazards to the area. Scientists and emergency officials  will watch and warn via PC ALERT, the federal Emergency Alert System,providing information to media and posting on Pierce County Twitter ( @PierceCo 

VolcanoREADY Checklist:

READY: How to live safely

Assess your local hazards from a lahar, ash fall or being in a community isolated from river based lahars (mud and debris from Mount Rainier). 

           Hazards explained:  volcanic hazards, and your risk: Rainier Hazard Map.

Make a Plan :

Make a plan for your risks: lahar, ash, or isolated by impacted rivers?

Identify your evacuation route and destinations.  

Emergency Kit:

Have volcano specific items, N95 masks and eye protection Need to stay put? Have home emergency kit, especially if your community could be isolated due to lahars in local river ways.


Regular communications will be overwhelmed, if not damaged.How will you communicate your plans and how will you connect with those important to you? Identify an "Out of Area" contact for texting  or email. Where to meet if unable to be at home?  Which technical tools will be used: Facebook, Safe and Well, other?

SET: How to stay informed

Officials will update hazard zones and disseminate new information as volcanic activity develops. Watch and/or listen for additional information about emergency procedures.

 Emergency broadcasts

 NOAA All Hazard weather radio, local radio  and local TV will broadcast emergency alerts.

County Alerts

Using link above sign up for PC ALERT . PC ALERT is tested for volcanic hazard notifications the first Monday of the month.

 USGS Volcano Notification Service

Receive notices on volcanoes in your backyard. Sign up for Notification Service.

Outdoor sirens

Available in the Puyallup river drainage (Orting to Port of Tacoma), know what to do if you hear the siren or receive an ALERT to evacuate. The outdoor siren system is tested the first Monday of each month at noon, along the Puyallup and Carbon Rivers, downstream form the communities of Electron and Carbonado.

Mountain Image, text Evacuation Route

GO: Your response to a volcanic hazard

Two options, evacuate or stay in place. One provides for your safety, the other keeps the roads clear for first respondents and evacuees.


If your location requires you to evacuate to avoid a lahar or severe flooding, follow official’s directions. 

Evacuate on foot; only by vehicle if unable to walk; go to high ground above the valley floor, at least 50 feet. Do not stop and block evacuation route. Do not stop to look, continue as directed. Locate shelter.

Stay put if in safe location

If you are safe from lahars and ash is falling, seek shelter in a building or vehicle. Close windows, turn off HVAC or engines. Listen to radio or TV for official instructions. 

More information at, this website has links to other official sources such as USGS and Department of Natural Resources.

April is national 9-1-1 Education Month

Preparedness Academy - 2019 - No fee courses

The following courses are classroom based or self study. 

Disaster First Aid   

Pierce County EM Disaster First Aid trainers will provide  course for neighborhoods organizing to support each other during times of disaster. This course is for all Pierce County residents, who are working on organizing their neighborhoods through Map Your Neighborhood or PC NET. . 
- Check with your neighborhood facilitator,
- Call for information and registration 253-798-2209 
- OR email.
  • April 13, Saturday: Key Peninsula Fire District Station 46, 8911 Key Peninsula Hwy NW, Key Center
  • May 4, Saturday:  Our Savior Lutheran Church, 4519 112th St E, Tacoma
  • August 3, Saturday: Pierce County Emergency Operations Center, 2501 S 35th St, Tacoma
  • October 19,Saturday: Chapel Hill Presbyterian, 7700 Skansie Avenue,Gig Harbor

Psychological First Aid/ Emotional Support - How people respond to a crisis. 

People's reactions to crisis vary. Learn which reactions are harmful and how some are actually beneficial. Take away some important tools you can use to connect with affected people and provide immediate emotional support following an emergency. 

If interested in having this class in your community email  The course is taught by experienced crisis chaplains, it is a non-religious course. The reviews from the course are  positive!
  • May 22,Wednesday,  East Pierce Fire Station 46,18421 Veterans Memorial Dr E, Bonney Lake
  • June 6, Thursday, Key Peninsula Fire District Station 46, 8911 Key Peninsula Hwy NW, Key Center
  • September 5,Thursday, Pierce County Emergency Operation Center, 2501 South 35th St., Tacoma   Or at Bonney Lake. Included is a tour of our Emergency Operation Center.
Registration Link - Registering helps us prepare materials and seating, no deadline for signing up.

Preparedness Talk

Are you in a community, group, club, Parent Teacher Association, or sports team that could use a presentation about what they can do to care for their members or loved ones in the event of a disaster?  Schedule a one-hour talk provided by Pierce County Emergency Management. Contact Us

Neighborhood Preparedness

Request a preparedness talk for your neighborhood, programs Pierce County Neighborhood Emergency Teams (PC-NET)  and  Map Your Neighborhood will be explained. Your neighborhood determines which program is best for them, materials to start either program are provided.

Self Study Courses
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 also the general public.
           Preparedness Videos -
  Washington State Emergency Management has created multilingual                  preparedness videos to assist residents in being ready for all hazards. 
Map Your Neighborhood:Videos to watch with neighborhood,  don't be alone in a disaster. Materials available through Pierce County Emergency Management Outreach.
IS-10.A:  Animals in Disasters: Awareness and Preparedness

          Information Security Texas A&M,TEEX Extensions Service -
This course is designed to teach the principles and practices that all computer users need to keep themselves safe, both at work and at home. By presenting best practices along with a small amount of theory, trainees are taught both what to do and why to do it. 
Registration;   Class online link

Call if you can, text if you can't

Text-to-911 in Pierce County

Text-to-911 is NOT a method of convenience. The service is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak or hear in an emergency. A voice call is still the preferred and most efficient method for contacting 911. Simply stated, call if you can, text if you can’t.

Text 911 if you need EMERGENCY police, fire or medical aid
You are Deaf, hard of hearing, or speech disabled
You cannot speak due to a medical emergency
A voice call might endanger your life or escalate the situation
Text-to-911 is NOT a method of convenience. The service is intended to benefit people who may not be able to speak or hear in an emergency. A voice call is still the preferred and most efficient method for contacting 911. Simply stated, call if you can, text if you can’t.

How to send a text to 911

  1. Open your mobile phone’s text messaging program.
  2. Enter the numbers 911 in the “To” field. 
  3. Type a message with the location of the emergency (including city) and the nature of the emergency (what is happening and whether you need police, fire or medical aid).
  4. Press the “Send” button or arrow.
Be sure to keep your phone with you and be prepared to answer questions and follow instructions from the 911 call taker. If you are trying not to be overheard requesting help, remember to silence your phone!
Things to remember
  • Keep text messages brief.
  • Do NOT send photos or video, or use group texts, abbreviations or emojis.
  • Text-to-911 is only available in English.
  • Photos and videos cannot be received at this time.
  • South Sound 911 does not control text delivery from mobile carriers or devices.
  • There may be instances when a voice call cannot connect due to poor cellular signal or other phone service interruption, but a text message can still go through.
  • A text sent to 911 in an area without text-to-911 service should receive an automatic reply stating the service is not available.
For more information about text-to-911, including where in Washington the service is available, visit the state Emergency Management Division

Source: South Sound 911:
Preparing, recovering, and rebuilding after disaster and emergencies...handling finances
National Public Safety Telecommunicatiors Week April 14 - 20,2019
Image of cell phone

Here are some tips to help 911 and first responders if you need help in an emergency:
Posting your 911 address at the driveway entrance and on your home will alleviate any confusion as to whether emergency responders have the correct location. Try using something reflective or illuminated so that it can be seen in the evening as well as during the day. 

DO NOT ASSUME SINCE YOUR MAILBOX IS MARKED YOU HAVE POSTED YOUR ADDRESS - mailboxes are not always at the entrance of a driveway and usually are not marked clearly on both sides. Several cities and counties have ordinances for posting 911 addresses - check with your local ones. And always report missing street signs when noted - these not only help others find your home but are essential to emergency response personnel.

Educate everyone about the phone system in your home as well as your cell phone. Children may need to use the devices in an emergency and will need to know how to unlock and use them.

Pierce County ALERT

The County can send you emails, text messages and voice messages to your cell phone, but we need you to register your cell number and email in our PC ALERT system.  Some less urgent alerts only go out via email, so please register!

Out of state family members may register using your Pierce County address. They will get any ALERTS that impact your household or community. 

TEXT PC ALERT to 888-777 for quick sign up! 

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Check out our Facebook posts for regular information on preparedness. Your organization is very welcome to share our posts!

Pierce County Department of Emergency Management regularly posts education information on our Facebook. Please like us, share the information with your friends and networks. 

Citizen Corp

Citizen Corps Council of Pierce County 

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

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