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Prepare your home for emergencies

It only takes a few stormy days to remind us how things can be in Grays Harbor in the fall and winter! Likely many of you have experienced power outages during this last week as the winds blew!

So, before you turn your attention to the fast-approaching holiday season, take a bit of time to organize yourself and your household for emergencies. You won’t regret taking a little bit of time now to assess what your plans are and gather provisions for storms, power outages and other emergencies.

Prepare for power outages

If you are like most, sometimes during summer, the neatly packed box or bag of disaster items gets relocated, or items from it are taken out for minor “emergencies.” Now is the time to find it and take a quick inventory.

If you don’t have such a box or bag, the time is now to prepare for a possible disaster – especially for power outages.

The PUD website at has a great list of items as does the Grays Harbor County Emergency Management website ( /departments/emergency management)

Here are some highlights of what you should do to be prepared.

  • Put together at least one “Go Bag” – it could be a backpack, a plastic tote or a handled cloth bag. Store it in your home, or consider storing it in your car so that you have it wherever you are.

  • Build up your larder now. The squirrels do it and the pioneers did it and we should do it too – stock up your shelves with food items you will use in the next few months, but will be available in case you can’t get to a store. Remember some kind of protein like spam, tuna, canned chicken or peanut butter.

  • Don’t forget drinking water. Have plenty on hand for you, your family and pets.

  • Get some cash to have on hand. Often when the power goes out stores and gas stations don’t have the ability to process credit cards. Make sure to have the money in smaller denominations – like $10s and $20s.

  • Consider keeping 10 gallons of gas around, safely stored. Cycle it through your lawn mower or car once a month so the supply stays fresh. Then you’ll have the gas needed for a generator – or even your car.

  • Make a habit of keeping your gas tank at least half full. When power goes out throughout a community that means pumping gas isn’t possible, so it’s good to be prepared. (Besides, you don’t want to run out of gas in the cold winter weather!)

  • Think ahead and make sure you have plenty of prescription medication on hand.

  • Don’t forget your pets – build up their larder – and any other things they might need, medicine, litter, etc.

Know when a storm is coming

Even though we should all try to be prepared at all times for the possibility of a storm or other weather event or power outage, it is still helpful to have a heads up what’s coming our way.

So, we thought we’d tell you several ways to get more up-to-date information for your area.

The quickest way to receive emergency and disaster information from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management is to follow that office on Facebook and Twitter. (Twitter at, and Facebook under Grays Harbor County Emergency Management.)

In addition, we recommend signing up for the Grays Harbor County Notification System for emergency and disaster alerts from Grays Harbor County Emergency Management via phone call, text and e-mail. To sign up for the notification system, go to the county’s website under “info.”

Another excellent way to learn about severe weather is to purchase an All Hazard ALERT Weather Radio. This radio comes on with immediate alerts for severe weather and disaster information. They can be purchased at many hardware stores. (And they make excellent gifts!)

Speaking of radio, our excellent local AM/FM radio stations are experts at transmitting the most up-to-date information about disasters and weather conditions. You’ll want to make sure you know where to find them on your dial.


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