Emergency Preparedness Guide for the Home and Family

The Seattle area faces several types of disasters from the possibility of earthquakes to volcanic eruption.  We also face more mundane freezing events, floods, and snowstorms like those of 1996, 2008, 2012.

In the event of an emergency, each family should prepared to be self-sufficient for at least 3 days.  Self-sufficient means living in the home without electricity, or outside food and supplies.


In the event of a power outage, water from faucets might not be safe to drink.  If the gas and electric supply is disrupted, you will not be able to use a stove to heat water.  Unopened commercially bottled water is the safest for an emergency water supply.  Be sure to keep the emergency water supply out of sunlight, away from cleaners, pesticides, and fuels, and at a fairly consistent, cool temperature.  Store a bottle of unscented liquid household chlorine bleach to disinfect your water and to use for general cleaning and sanitizing.

Bottles of Water

Emergency Water Supply

  • Store at least 1 gallon of water per day for each person and each pet.
  • Store at least a 3-day supply of water for each person and each pet (try to store a 2-week supply if possible).
  • Observe the expiration date for store-bought water


Prepare an emergency food supply to support your entire household for three days.  Don’t forget about pets; make sure they have food too. Store food in a cool, dry, dark place away from oil, paints, solvents, and exhausts.   Make sure to protect food from insects and rodents as well. Date all food and replace your supply as needed.

Choose foods that have a long storage life and require no water or cooking.  You might not have gas or electrical service to operate a stove and it could be too cold or dangerous to use a grill or camp stove outdoors. CAUTION: Never burn charcoal indoors as it can release deadly gases.  Do not use grills or camp stoves indoors or in garages either for the same reason.

Canned food

Emergency Food Supply

  • Food for each family member for three days, including infants and pets.
  • Cooking utensils
  • Knives, forks, and spoons
  • Paper plates, cups, and towels
  • A manual can- and bottle-opener
  • Heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • Gas or charcoal grill or camp stove for outdoor cooking if possible
  • Fuel for cooking, such as charcoal or propane

Emergency Supplies

Consider what you will need if you have no heat, Internet, power, or access to local stores.

electric home generator 


  • Never operate a generator in the home or garage!
  • Be very careful about venting outdoor generators; exhaust from outdoor generators can be pulled indoors and make you sick or even kill you. Place generator at least 3 feet away from doors or windows.
  • A snowstorm is no time to figure out how to use a generator.  Do a run through with your generator in fair weather to make sure you know how to operate it safely.
  • Do not overload your generator; make sure it is producing more power then the appliance you’re running with it.
  • The generator must be protected from rain or snow


  • Do not run barbeques indoors or in garages.  The fumes can poison you and cause death.
  • Stock up an adequate supply of fuel for the barbeques and store the fuel in a safe, accessible place

warm coats hanging on hooks


  • Clothing- make sure each family member has warm clothing and a winter coat
  • Blankets- keep an extra supply of blankets to adequately protect you if the heating fuel supply is disrupted
  • Food- food is important to staying warm, make sure you have more then enough food on hand 


  • Stores might not be able to accept cards and ATMs might not be working
  • Keep $150 or whatever you can manage
  • Stashing even $1 a week can help

first aid kit

Other items:

  • Battery powered radio and extra batteries
  • Flashlight with extra batteries
  • Emergency information, including insurance policies
  • First aid kit
  • Books, cards, and board games to pass the time 

While it can seem overwhelming to create a emergency kit, it is manageable when broken into small steps.  First buy the water, and then the next week buy half of your food supply.  Just work through the list accumulating supplies each week and you will soon be self-sufficient in the event of an emergency.

Superior Cleaning & Coit Cleaning and Restoration in Woodinville, WA holds a Construction Contractor, General license (SUPERI 973KR).

Recent Posts