Disaster Preparedness Series

Disasters can happen anytime and anywhere, so are you prepared?  The consequences of a disaster are largely preventable.  One hour of "Disaster Preparedness Activity" each month will help you be ready for disasters -  wherever they occur and whatever they are.

One of GCA's goals for 2019 is to help our members to "Prepare in a Year".  As with any goal, preparing for a disaster can seem like a monumental task.  The goal is to be easy and as inexpensive as possible.  Each month, we will focus on one aspect of disaster preparedness and assist you in one hour of disaster preparedness activity.

January - Make a Plan
February - Out of Area Contacts
March - Water Storage
April - 72-hour Comfort Kit
May - Important Documents
June - Extended Events
July - Under the Bed
August - Utility Safety
September - Drop, Cover and Hold
October - Fire Safety
November - Shelter in Place
December - Home Hazard Hunt

To learn more about "Prepare in a Year" and go to this link: Download the Brochure


Click on the "BARS" below to learn more about each monthly plan!

January Focus - Make a Plan

January: Make your Plan


The task for the month of January is to create your emergency action plan.  What is the importance of having a plan?  The fact that developing and practicing an emergency action plan can save countless lives throughout the community during an emergency or disaster.


STAY INFORMED: The first step in developing your emergency action plan is to become aware of what potential emergency or disasters can occur in your area, such as earthquakes, power outages, train derailments and volcanoes.  One way to stay informed is to sign up for Mason County Alerts.  This is a free service which sends notifications about emergencies occurring in your area and other important community news.  Alerts include information on severe weather, flooding, unexpected road closures, missing persons and evacuations of buildings or neighborhoods.  You can receive these alerts in the manner most convenient for you, whether that be at your home, business, via text messages or email, or all of the above.  This tool will help keep you informed with vetted and reliable information in addition to any information you hear on the radio, television or social media.  Sign up for Mason County Alerts with this link – it only takes a minute:



FOCUS ON FAMILY: The second step in developing your emergency action plan is to determine the specific needs of those in your household.  This will enable you to prepare and accommodate for any special needs that are required.  These needs may include having enough diapers and formula available for infants, or having food, leashes, kennels for pets, and any necessary accommodations for disabled family members or those who require specific medications or medical care.


DEVELOP YOUR PLAN:  Now that you have collected this information, you are ready to develop your emergency action plan.  Review the layout of your house and determine two ways to exit each room in the event of an emergency.  You will also need to pick two meeting locations outside of your home.  The first location should be close to your house, such as by the mailbox or the large tree across the street. The second location should be outside of your neighborhood in case it is not safe to be near your home.

We have put an emergency plan template on the GCA website to make this easier for you.  Download the template and get started! Emergency Plan Template


So far, no money has been spent on your “Prepare in a Year” plan.  Be sure to develop and practice your plan with each member of your household.  Knowledge and practice help muscle memory engage during an emergency or disaster when denial, panic or paralysis can set in.  You can download the "Prepare in a Year" document from this link: Download the Brochure


In February, the focus will be on "Designating an out-of-area contact".

Disaster Preparedness: Our CERT Training Recap


Disaster Preparedness: Our CERT Training Recap

Eighteen local residents participated in a 20-hour Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) disaster preparedness training sponsored by Mason County Department of Emergency Management. The training was held at the Horton Community Center across two weekends: October 26 & 27 and November 2 & 3rd. 

Through classroom sessions and “hands-on” exercises, CERT members are trained to assist those in their neighborhood and/or workplace following a disaster, at a time when professional emergency responders may not be immediately available.  The participants learned CERT organization and psychology, disaster preparedness, light search and rescue techniques, fire safety and how to provide basic medical assistance.

Upon completion of the CERT Program, members have the option of being assigned to teams based on their residential or workplace locations.  “If an emergency occurs, we need to be prepared to take care of our families and neighbors before the real first responders can get here – which may take a very long time,” said participant and Grapeview resident Mike Blaisdell.  “This training is a great way to help people feel more comfortable and helps them know what to do to keep their families safe and prepared,” he said.

The CERT course will benefit any citizen who takes it.  The training will better prepare you to respond to and cope with the aftermath of a disaster.  Additionally, if our community wants to supplement its response capability after a disaster, residents can be recruited and trained as neighborhood teams that, in essence, will be auxiliary responders. These groups can provide immediate assistance to victims in their area, organize spontaneous volunteers who have not had the training, and collect disaster intelligence that will assist professional responders with prioritization and allocation of resources following a disaster.

If you are interested in participating in a CERT course, please email Leslie Blaisdell at websitegca@gmail.com.  We’d like to set up another local session in 2019!


"CERT is about readiness, people helping people, rescuer safety and doing the greatest good for the greatest number.  It is a  realistic approach to disaster situations where the actions of average citizens can make a positive difference.  Regardless of personal limitations, there is a role for everyone in CERT".

In the event of a major emergency or disaster, many of the resources normally available to those of us who live and work in Western Washington State may become inaccessible and unavailable. Public services may be interrupted; communications, utilities, and commodity delivery systems (food, water, and medicines) could be disrupted. Most importantly, if a major disaster occurs, the fire department, paramedics, and police…WILL NOT COME! They will be deployed FIRST to major incidents such as collapsed buildings. That is why you constantly hear that "You MUST be prepared to take care of yourself."

What is CERT? The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program is an all-risk, all-hazard training. This valuable course is designed to help you protect yourself, your family, your neighbors and your neighborhood in an emergency. If a major earthquake (or any disaster) hits, do you …

  • have enough supplies for a minimum of 72 hours up to an entire month for all family members, including pets?
  • know how to turn off the gas?
  • know how to safely turn off the power?
  • know how to apply first aid?
  • have enough water for your family and your pets?
  • have provisions for living outside your home for a length of time if the structure is compromised?

Being aware of the hazards in our area will help you understand the importance of everyone being able to provide for their own personal needs for at least seventy-two hours and possibly much longer. CERT classes teach community volunteers important and valuable emergency response skills and actions that will help safeguard and protect themselves, family members, neighbors and coworkers.

When you are trained, you are far more equipped to deal with your circumstances without needing aid from outside sources. CERT members are trained in basic disaster response skills such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations. You will learn how to prepare for emergencies; what supplies you should NOW have in your house, how much food, how much water but most importantly, how to protect your family in an emergency!

CERT Participants Learn How To:

  • Identify and anticipate hazards
  • Extinguish small fires
  • Recognize and treat life-threatening conditions
  • Triage patient care activities
  • Conduct light search and rescue
  • Help reduce survivor and team stress
  • Organize emergency response volunteers
  • Identify and respond to threats of terrorism
  • Assist first-responders by recording and reporting situation information
  • Preparing disaster supply kits