West Seattle Blog... » Preparedness http://westseattleblog.com West Seattle news, 24/7 Sat, 26 Jul 2014 02:42:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 West Seattle scene: Do you know where YOUR ‘hub’ is? http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-scene-do-you-know-where-your-hub-is/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/07/west-seattle-scene-do-you-know-where-your-hub-is/#comments Tue, 22 Jul 2014 19:01:37 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=280216

In case of catastrophe – there’s likely a Neighborhood Emergency Communication Hub near you, a place where you can go to get and share information about what’s happening and how to get help. Pigeon Point has a new hub location – 20th/Genesee – on the West Seattle Be Prepared Emergency Communication Hubs roster, and Jim Sander has created signs to help get the word out:

Thanks to Pete Spalding for sharing the photos. P.S. So where’s YOUR nearest hub, you ask? Check this map from westseattlebeprepared.org:

View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map

Don’t see one near you? Here’s how to change that.

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Video: West Seattle demonstration shows the one thing you need to do to stop a kitchen fire http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-west-seattle-demonstration-of-the-one-thing-you-need-to-do-to-stop-a-kitchen-fire/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/video-west-seattle-demonstration-of-the-one-thing-you-need-to-do-to-stop-a-kitchen-fire/#comments Thu, 29 May 2014 21:52:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=274819

Kitchen fires are the most common kind of fire in the U.S. – so do you know what to do in case of a fire in your kitchen? Take a few minutes and watch the demonstration we covered this morning at the Joint Training Facility on the southeast edge of West Seattle. That’s Seattle Fire Department Captain C.M. Yob. (For the abbreviated version, move the cursor ahead to 2 minutes in, when the flames appear.) Also on hand, Puget Sound Energy‘s Andy Wappler:

We photographed him showing off the elements of a disaster-preparedness starter kit that will be given away at Fred Meyer in Redondo (25250 Pacific Hwy S.) during an event on June 14th that’s part of the Safe in the Sound campaign involving PSE and the Red Cross, among others.

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West Seattle weekend scene: Disaster drill at Ercolini Park http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-weekend-scene-disaster-drill-at-ercolini-park/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/west-seattle-weekend-scene-disaster-drill-at-ercolini-park/#comments Sun, 18 May 2014 06:22:46 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273753

The volunteers of West Seattle Be Prepared are more prepared than ever after today’s emergency-communications drill at Ercolini Park west of The Junction. WSBP’s Karen Berge shared these photos, and reports, “Fortunately, the weather was nice and we had a great turnout of volunteers and people who stopped by to ask about what we were doing!” In case you missed the preview, they were acting out what might happen in the event of a major Mount Rainier ash/mudflow, and how the neighborhood “hubs” (explained here) would communicate and cooperate. Ercolini and North Delridge hubs “activated” at the park for the drill, but volunteers from elsewhere helped, including Gordon Wiehler, Fauntleroy hub captain, who served as a radio operator at Ercolini

Alki hub captain Tony Fragada also served as a radio operator. At left in the next photo, debriefing post-drill, is Ercolini hub captain Kris Buitrago ):

The hubs are set to activate in case of catastrophe – and you’ll want to know where the nearest hub is, since it’ll be a place to go to find information and seek help. Here’s the current West Seattle hub map:

View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map

Along with Karen, fellow WSBP leaders Deb Greer and Cindi Barker were there, along with North Delridge hub captain Jay McNally; the EC Hughes hub’s acting captain Shane Marr was “offsite in the role of Net Control,” Karen mentions. You can find out more about WSBP at tomorrow’s Seattle Summer Streets event on Alki, 11 am-5 pm – look for them toward the west side of the street-fest zone, between 61st and 63rd.

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Turn it off! Free mini-workshop on Sunday to help you handle utilities post-disaster http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/turn-it-off-free-mini-workshop-on-sunday-to-help-you-handle-utilities-post-disaster/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/turn-it-off-free-mini-workshop-on-sunday-to-help-you-handle-utilities-post-disaster/#comments Fri, 16 May 2014 22:13:43 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273632 The p-word – preparedness – is big around here. We know it’s tough to take time to plan or learn something you hope to never have to use – but this Sunday, if you can spare *half an hour*, it’ll be well worth it. A free city-presented mini-workshop at Southwest Branch Library will teach you what you need to know about handling household utilities in case of disaster, 1:40-2 pm:

In just 30 minutes, find out how to safely power down your household electric panel and how and when to turn off your natural gas at the meter. Join us for hands-on practice using real equipment and pick up other tips on how to secure your household water supply. Class is free, no RSVP. Come one and all.

The SW Library is at 35th/Henderson.

P.S. Also in the preparedness vein – remember that local volunteers are having a drill at Ercolini Park tomorrow morning (9-noon), so don’t be startled if you happen onto it!

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What if? West Seattle preparedness, communications volunteers to join in citywide Mt. Rainier-scenario disaster drill this Saturday http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/what-if-west-seattle-preparedness-communications-volunteers-to-join-in-citywide-mt-rainier-scenario-disaster-drill-this-saturday/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/05/what-if-west-seattle-preparedness-communications-volunteers-to-join-in-citywide-mt-rainier-scenario-disaster-drill-this-saturday/#comments Mon, 12 May 2014 22:30:17 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=273178

Seen hazily in the distance from a ferry this morning, Mount Rainier was beautiful … yet always, also, vaguely ominous. It’s a volcano. And it’s NOT extinct. So … what if? That’s the scenario for a disaster drill coming up this Saturday morning (May 17th, 9 am-noon), involving West Seattle preparedness volunteers and others around the area. Local activity will be focused at Ercolini Park west of The Junction and at American Legion Post 160 in The Triangle. As officially announced:

Neighborhood emergency preparedness groups across Seattle assisted by amateur radio emergency communicators will test skills Saturday in an exercise based on a simulated major mudflow and ash release from Mt. Rainier. This exercise titled “Mud and Ash Everywhere” is the spring version of this semiannual event. The goal of this exercise is to practice preparedness and response actions that will contribute to community resiliency in surviving a significant disaster.

An estimated 150 people from disaster preparedness groups and volunteer response teams including ham radio emergency communications teams will participate in the event. The amateur radio teams are sponsored and trained by the Seattle Office of Emergency Management. Their purpose is to provide emergency communications when cell and landline phones become overloaded or damaged due to catastrophic events.

The scenario for the event is based on the Mount Rainier mudflow of 5,600 years ago in which more than ½ a cubic mile of hydrothermally altered volcanic debris were shed by the volcano reached prehistoric Elliott Bay. This event was 200 times the size of the Oso Landslide. An analogous disaster in Columbia in November 1985 took the lives of 25,000 people burying all valley floor structures under more than 20 feet of mud a distance of many miles from the Nevado del Ruiz volcano.

The Columbia event started with an ash release that melted ice near the summit of the volcano. Just as in the Oso Landslide, the addition of water resulted in decreased cohesion of sediments, increased unit weight and increased lubricity of the resulting slurry. This exercise includes ash and will feature failures of the power system due to ash-induced flashovers and the failure of motors and bearings due to abrasive effects of ash. Additionally, cooling of electronics and ventilation will be impacted by the plugging of filters by ash. The last time our region experienced a significant ash event was the May 1981 catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens; the last significant release of ash from Mount Rainier was in 1854. This is essentially yesterday when viewed with the perspective of the geologic time scale..

Responding to Saturday’s simulated disaster event are community volunteers forming neighborhood “Hubs”. Participants have practiced solving neighborhood problems that could occur during a disaster, responding to needs affecting life and property, sharing community resources, and reporting simulated emergency messages to the Seattle Office of Emergency Management using ham radio.

“In a real event, information communicated by ham radio from the Hubs could be used by City response planners to help assess conditions throughout the city and develop response plans”, said Cindi Barker, a member of the design team for the exercise. Exercise designers have built in some twists and turns involving communications networks and several challenging issues at Hub sites which will develop during the three hour training event.

These exercises provide an opportunity for preparedness newcomers to work alongside their more experienced neighbors to gain experience and learn skills. “It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors” said Carl Leon, one of the drill organizers. “We set up neighborhood Hubs where people can come to get information and share resources or skills to help those that have been affected”.

Seattle Auxiliary Communication Services (ACS) amateur radio teams will set up portable, battery powered radio networks at neighborhood Hub sites providing communication links with the City and to other Hubs. Messages will be transmitted on ham radio systems using both voice and digital formats. Computers are connected to send and receive e-mail like documents and images.

Participating Hub locations include Broadview, Capitol Hill, Lake City, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Maple Leaf, Queen Anne, Shilshole, Wedgwood, and West Seattle’s Ercolini Park. The West Seattle ACS Field Team will be at American Legion Post 160. All Hub locations welcome visitors and people who would like to learn and participate in emergency neighborhood preparedness during this drill.

For more information about preparedness – please visit:
Seattle Emergency Management: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/default.htm
Community Emergency Hubs: http://www.seattle.gov/emergency/prepare/community/

For more information about amateur radio – please visit:
Seattle Auxiliary Communications Service: http://www.seattleacs.com
Western Washington Medical Service Team: http://ww7mst.org
ARRL the national association for Amateur Radio: http://arrl.org/
For information about the neighborhood Hubs: http://www.seattlehubs.org

And for West Seattle-specific information, it’s westseattlebeprepared.org.

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Take a few minutes to help make sure Seattle’s ready for anything http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/take-a-few-minutes-to-help-make-sure-seattles-ready-for-anything/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/take-a-few-minutes-to-help-make-sure-seattles-ready-for-anything/#comments Fri, 28 Mar 2014 21:01:30 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=268976 As the Snohomish County slide disaster reminds us, lives can be changed or ended in an instant, without warning. In some cases, preparedness wouldn’t have made a difference. But in many, it can. If you can spare five minutes right now, for starters, you can make a difference – West Seattle community advocate Mat McBride, who also happens to be a private-sector preparedness professional, explains:

While Oso has our collective attention, there’s a local preparedness initiative happening. I’m part of the team updating Seattle’s Hazard Mitigation Plan, and the public feedback portion is underway. This is an important process, as it helps the Office of Emergency Management identify the priorities from its key stakeholders – us. There are two opportunities at present:

* Take the online survey: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SeaHazMitSurvey. It takes all of 5 minutes to lock in West Seattle concerns and priorities.

* Attend the public meeting: April 8 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Rainier Community Center, 4600 38th Ave. South Seattle

Interpretation and accommodations are available upon advance request to Donna Voss, Project Manager, at (206) 233-5089 or by email at:

The survey took us just four minutes – its centerpiece is a list in which you can rate your level of concern about types of disaster both natural and man-made.

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West Seattle weekend scene: Emergency communicators @ SSCC http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-weekend-scene-emergency-communicators-sscc/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-weekend-scene-emergency-communicators-sscc/#comments Sat, 22 Mar 2014 17:37:24 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=268452

Big event under way all weekend at South Seattle Community College (WSB sponsor) – the annual Communications Academy for volunteer emergency communicators, though, as evidenced by what we spotted outside, you’ll find lots of professionals there too. They include today’s keynoter Bill Schrier, the West Seattleite who is the former Seattle city IT boss and now works in the state’s CIO office – he tweeted from the event:

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West Seattle seismographs show 6.9 earthquake off California http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-seismographs-show-6-9-earthquake-off-california/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/03/west-seattle-seismographs-show-6-9-earthquake-off-california/#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 06:27:03 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=267179

You might have heard by now about the 6.9-magnitude earthquake off the far-northern California coast a little more than an hour ago. It could be seen on at least two official seismographs in West Seattle that are part of the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network – above, the online display from the detector at the Alki stormwater-treatment plant; below, the one at Holy Rosary (which is a bit busier):

So far, no word of notable damage from the 10:18 pm quake 50 miles west of Eureka, California, according to former WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams, who lives and works there now. For us, yet another wakeup call – do you have your go bag? Know where your communication hub is? Browse westseattlebeprepared.org next time you can spare a few minutes.

P.S. Thanks to Skies Over West Seattle correspondent Alice Enevoldsen for the tip about the local seismographs,

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Are you ready? Get involved with your Emergency Communication Hub – and get ready for a citywide drill http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/are-you-ready-get-involved-with-your-emergency-communication-hub-and-get-ready-for-a-citywide-drill/ http://westseattleblog.com/2014/02/are-you-ready-get-involved-with-your-emergency-communication-hub-and-get-ready-for-a-citywide-drill/#comments Sun, 23 Feb 2014 02:03:22 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=265846

View West Seattle Emergency Communication Hubs in a larger map

Know your nearest Emergency Communication Hub! That map shows the 11 community-volunteer-powered spots in West Seattle that would be activated in case of major disaster – someplace you could go to find out what’s going on when other communication channels are down. And this week, anniversaries remind us that the most likely disaster around here – earthquake – can hit at any time; three years ago today, the Christchurch quake in New Zealand killed almost 200 people; next Friday (February 28th) will be the 13th anniversary of the Nisqually earthquake here in Western Washington, which left hundreds hurt. So while quakes are top of mind again, it’s a great time to get involved with the Hubs – which have now gone citywide – and to get ready for a big citywide drill that’s about three months away.

On May 17, between 9:00 am and noon, community groups and emergency volunteers from throughout Seattle will be participating in a disaster drill to test neighborhood emergency preparedness.

The groups, known as the Seattle Emergency Communications Hubs, will join the City’s Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) ham volunteers to simulate a volcanic explosion and it’s impact on Seattle, especially if the wind blows ash towards Seattle and resulting lahars (mud flows) impact infrastructure. “It’s all about neighbors helping neighbors” said Carl Leon, one of the drill organizers. “We set up neighborhood hubs where people can come to get information and share resources or skills to help those who have been affected.”

The ACS volunteers will practice sending situation reports of conditions in each neighborhood from the Hubs into the City’s Emergency Operations Center. In a real event, that information could be used by City response planners to assess conditions throughout the city and develop response plans.

Participating Hub locations in addition to West Seattle include Broadview, Capitol Hill, Kirke Park, Lake City, Loyal Heights, Magnolia, Maple Leaf, Queen Anne, Rainier Beach, Shilshole. All Hub locations will welcome visitors and people who would like to learn and participate in the Hubs.

For more information about becoming a Hub volunteer, contact Cindi Barker, cbarker@qwest.net, 206-933-6968.

For information about becoming a Ham radio operator or member of ACS, contact Carl Leon at

And in the meantime, browse westseattlebeprepared.org for information that could someday save your life.

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PACK YOUR BAG! Final day: Give yourself a treat http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/pack-your-bag-final-day-give-yourself-a-treat/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/11/pack-your-bag-final-day-give-yourself-a-treat/#comments Fri, 01 Nov 2013 11:00:48 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254646 November is here and Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month is over. Thanks to West Seattle Be Prepared for a month of instructions on how to put together THE “Go Bag“/kit that can be a literal life-saver for you and your family if disaster strikes. Over the weekend, we’re going to put together one big recap with all the advice and links, but for now, from WSBP’s Cindi Barker:

You get a treat today! Whatever you gave away for Halloween, you probably have leftovers, so dump some of that Halloween candy into your bag. The calories have been removed; you’re welcome. I have been reading the comments as the month has progressed, and thank everyone for their additional ideas and suggestions. I am very interested in how many of you built or are well on your way to completing an emergency bag, so please give a comment on how you did.

And if you’re still getting around to getting started – hey, just get a bag, and pick a random place to start! Everything’s archived, newest to oldest, here.

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PACK YOUR BAG! Day 29: Take a look at what you have http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-29-take-a-look-at-what-you-have/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-29-take-a-look-at-what-you-have/#comments Thu, 31 Oct 2013 03:20:02 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254482 Next-to-last step in our Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month project to build your “Go Bag“/kit – see what you have. From West Seattle Be Prepared:

Spread your bag out, take a look at what you’ve got. This is your chance to decide if there’s something special and unique to you or your family that we’ve not covered. Or maybe the food just doesn’t seem like it will be enough (but don’t forget, you have to lift the bag). You can also take this time to repackage or regroup things in plastic bags or containers to make things fit more compactly; using ziplock bags or small containers can help make things fit more compactly.

This is the time to also decide if you might need a larger bag. Earlier in the month Margaret in Vashon decided she was going to use a suitcase with wheels, so she could move it without having to carry the whole time, so that’s one good idea. Maybe the water could fit into another tub or bag. There have been comments during the month about how bulky the water supply is. Remember, if you’ve stored all the water suggested, you will have enough for 2 weeks. The pre-made emergency backpacks sold by companies like the Red Cross do not have anywhere near that much water in their packs for sale; they usually just include a couple of cups per person. That’s so the bag is portable and has some water, but really only enough water for a day, it won’t get you through an extended disruption of the water supply. The point is, if you are going to have to evacuate the area, and are in a vehicle, you can take all the water you’ve stored. But if you are evacuating on foot, you will really only take what you can comfortably carry.

Want some recognition for what you have? We’d love to share a photo of your bag/kit/stuff – this might be the time to take one, before you repack everything, and send it to editor@westseattleblog.com. Remember that if you’ve missed some items along the way, or finally just made up your mind to get started, you can find everything archived (reverse-chronological order) at westseattleblog.com/category/preparedness.

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PACK YOUR BAG! Day 28: Think about ‘where’ as well as ‘what’ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-28-think-about-where-as-well-as-what/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-28-think-about-where-as-well-as-what/#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 04:13:38 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254392 As we’ve progressed through (almost) a month of building a “Go Bag“/emergency kit full of items you’ll want to have in case of disaster, the question has arisen along the way – where should you store all this stuff? West Seattle Be Prepared‘s advice this time around includes not only what to add, but also where to put the bag/kit itself:

This is the last time we are actually going to add anything specific – gather up some pens and paper and a permanent marking pen (should you have to mark things in a shelter). And depending on what you’ve already put in for your food supplies, maybe some plastic wrap, aluminum foil, empty ziplock bags, or assorted plastic containers with lids. More importantly: Now you should find the place where you are going to keep your bag and water.

The best place is wherever you can grab it on your way out the door you use the most. But near any door could work, since you are never sure if you will actually be able to get back into your home (after an earthquake). A hall closet is ideal, but most of us will have to wedge it in, especially if you have all your water in liter bottles. Garage is iffy; you may not be able to open the main door (power, off tracks) but if you have a separate door to the garage, that might be OK. Outside in a garden shed is an option, but I have a cautionary tale. I put my bag and water into a plastic bin and stored it outside. One of the water bottles froze, then burst. When I went to change out the food after a year, the kit was pretty moldy-nasty. So if you have to store outside, keep liquids separate and make sure the bag is waterproof (or put in a tub or trash bag if storing in a damp area like an unheated basement).

Need to catch up? Check back? All installments are archived, newest to oldest, here.

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PACK YOUR BAG! Day 27: Will you have enough to eat? http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-27-will-you-have-enough-to-eat/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-27-will-you-have-enough-to-eat/#comments Tue, 29 Oct 2013 04:06:07 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254300 Less than a week of “Go Bag“-building to go, in our Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month project. Today’s instructions from West Seattle Be Prepared:

Are you running out of steam building your bag? Then feel free to sample as you pack; for this installment, you will top off those food supplies with dried fruit, quick energy snacks, maybe some peanut butter and more chocolate! Some nuts are OK, but they do tend to go rancid, so keep those in the original containers. This is the last food you will be adding, so you might take everything out and see how it all plays together. For your entire family/household, will you be able to get by on what you have? If you had to, could you make this stretch for one week? Most government agencies have switched from saying “3 Days 3 Ways” to advising being prepared for a full week. Today’s the day to supplement what you have. But do avoid foods that need heat or water to make edible.

We’ll say it yet again – no judging, no grade, no prize here, so if you have yet to start, just jump in, get a bag, check the archives and do what you can … the whole point here is to be ready for something we hope never happens; with winter coming, though, some of the items packed in the “Go Bag” could be helpful in case of severe weather, power outages, etc.

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PACK YOUR BAG! Day 26: More water, and/or an alternative http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-26-more-water-andor-an-alternative/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-26-more-water-andor-an-alternative/#comments Sun, 27 Oct 2013 23:46:31 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254123 On a day that began with rain – fittingly, water is the subject of the next installment of what to put in your “Go Bag” kit as we roll into the final days of Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month. The instructions, from West Seattle Be Prepared:

So after the action yesterday to put in bleach to disinfect water – can’t imagine enjoying that taste! – so time to finish up your full stash of water. Today you should add 2 more gallons of water (or 8 liters) per person. This should bring you to 7 gallons or 27 liters per person total. And don’t forget water for your pets.

If the space to store all this water is going to be a problem for you, keep the minimum for 3 days (3 gallons / 11 liters per person) and think ahead about where else you have water that could be used in an emergency. For example, if you are staying in your house but the water supply has been disrupted, you have a large amount of water in your water heater that you can drain.

Need to review (or read for the first time) previous installments? Find them here, in reverse-chronological order. (At month’s end, we’ll also have one big recap.)

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PACK YOUR BAG! Day 25: More small items to tuck in http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-25-more-small-items-to-tuck-in/ http://westseattleblog.com/2013/10/pack-your-bag-day-25-more-small-items-to-tuck-in/#comments Sun, 27 Oct 2013 00:52:12 +0000 WSB http://westseattleblog.com/?p=254017 That “Go Bag“/kit we’ve been building day by day for Washington State Disaster Preparedness Month is getting more full by the day. But the next items to add are small things you can tuck in around the corners. From West Seattle Be Prepared:

A few more odds and ends to put in your bag today – a small sewing kit, safety pins, a small bottle of liquid dish soap and a small bottle of household chlorine bleach. The bleach has two purposes – you can use plain common bleach to eliminate bacterial contaminants in water. The general rule is 8 drops of chlorine bleach (must be common bleach, not scented, not color-safe) per gallon of water and then let sit for 30 minutes. This will kill many, but not all, disease-causing organisms. The second use is as a disinfectant, for surfaces that might be contaminated. For those of you who backpack, you can throw in water-purification tablets instead.

If you’re wondering what this is all about – or just getting started/catching up – the previous installments are all in our archive of preparedness-related stories, newest to oldest, Day 24 to Day 1; find them here.

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