What do I do first if a major disaster strikes?

You will be scared. You will be confused. You won't be sure what to do in the initial minutes, hours, maybe days after a 9.0 earthquake or tsunami hits the Pacific Northwest.

Here are the first steps you should take (not necessarily in this order). All of this downloadable in a document at this link. Download it to your phone so you'll always have access to it.

* Check: Are you injured? Is anyone else injured?

* Determine if you need to evacuate (This is a good reason to have a small ax at your home in case the disaster has made it impossible to open doors or windows -- you need a tool to break out).

* Take your 3-day (or more) supply kit.

* If this was an earthquake, do not go outside unless it's not safe to stay in your building. If you live around high-rises, glass could fall to the ground or facades of older buildings could crumble.

* If a tsunami is approaching, get to a higher floor or higher ground immediately.

* Do you smell or hear gas leaking? Turn it off. (You'll want to have a tool that will not create a spark)

* Check on your neighbors

* Conserve water

     * Check for water stored in your water heater -- it may hold 30-50 gallons of potable water (Here's how to do it)

     * Get water from the toilet tank (not the bowl)

     * Fill bathtub and sinks, making sure to tightly plug drain

     * Keep refrigerator and freezer closed as much as possible if power is out.

* Save your phone battery

     * Charge phone immediately in case power goes out

     * Shut off apps

     * Shut off Push notifications except for those you absolutely need

     * Decrease screen brightness

     * Shut off GPS, location services, and Bluetooth unless you absolutely need them

     * Call only who you need to and keep conversations short.

     * Forward calls to another phone, if you can

     * If you can't call, send email or social media messages to friends and family

     * Write down important phone numbers in case your phone dies

* Monitor local radio and TV broadcasts

* Monitor websites and social media for information

Join KING 5’s Disaster Preparedness Facebook group and learn how you and your community can get ready for when disaster strikes.

© 2017 KING-TV


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