Preparing for Emergencies

The City of Lakewood works closely with other agencies in our community to prepare for and respond to emergencies. This includes both natural and man-made emergencies. We all must work together to prepare for and respond to a disaster. Lakewood’s residents and businesses also need to take part by being ready for an emergency.

Disaster can strike at any time so it is best to prepare now!

How to Prepare for Disasters

In the case of a major event, residents shouldn’t expect help from the government for up to two weeks. This is because the most serious and life-threatening incidents receive priority. Emergency management experts recommend preparing to be on your own for seven days to two weeks.

How to Prepare at Home

  • Make a family communication plan. Include an evacuation plan that coordinates with your school, work, and community plans. Practice this plan with your family.
  • Build a disaster supply kit that includes enough supplies for each family member for 14 days (don’t forget your pets). Remember to check your kit every six months.
  • There are six basics you should stock for your home in the case of an emergency: water, food, first aid supplies, clothing and bedding, tools and emergency supplies, and special items for medical conditions. Keep the items that you would most likely need during an evacuation in an easy-to-carry container.

How to Prepare at Work

It is critical for businesses to be prepared for a disaster. History tells us that many small businesses will not survive in the event of an emergency or disaster. Most small businesses can’t afford to be closed for more than three days. To protect your business, you need to be prepared. Use the Department of Homeland Security website to learn about how to help you and your business plan for a disaster.

Emergency Checklist

The following is a checklist from the Pierce County Department of Emergency Management of things you can do to be prepared:

  • Purchase a NOAA ‘All Hazards’ Radio for emergency alerts.
  • Post emergency telephone numbers by phones (fire, police, ambulance, etc.).
  • Teach children how and when to call 9-1-1.
  • Show each family member how and when to turn off the utilities (water, gas, and electricity).
  • Get training for each family member on how to use the fire extinguisher (ABC type), and show them where it’s kept.
  • Install smoke detectors on each level of your home, especially near bedrooms.
  • Stock emergency supplies and assemble a Disaster Supplies Kit.
  • Take a first aid and CPR class.
  • Determine the best escape routes from your home. Find two ways out of each room.
  • Find the safe places in your home for each type of disaster and learn shelter-in-place procedures.
  • Practice and maintain your plan.
  • Quiz your kids every six months or so.
  • Conduct fire and emergency evacuations.
  • Replace stored water and stored food every six months.
  • Test and recharge your fire extinguisher(s) according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Test your smoke detectors monthly and change the batteries at least once a year.

Community Emergency Response Teams

West Pierce Fire & Rescue holds classes to teach about emergency preparedness. These are the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) classes. The goal of these classes is to prepare citizens for responding to disasters. They follow a model of teaching developed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

The main idea of this model is to teach people how to help each other in the first few minutes or hours following a disaster. This is the time before emergency responders are able to respond with professional help. Students gain hands-on skills such as fire starting, first aid, and search and rescue.

For more information, visit West Pierce Fire & Rescue’s website.

More Information

For more information on preparing for emergencies visit: