Be Prepared: Before a Disaster

Produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Experts agree that Seattle faces a real risk of a devastating earthquake striking off of our Pacific Coast and/or along the Seattle Fault, which runs through downtown Seattle. The Juan de Fuca is the only significant fault line along the Ring of Fire that has not experienced a major earthquake in the last fifty years. When this earthquake occurs, MIQA will be especially vulnerable:

  • A major earthquake will isolate our neighborhood
    • Magnolia is accessible only via three bridges, each of which could suffer extensive damage in an earthquake and could be rendered unusable
    • Interbay is very susceptible to liquefaction and even a tsunami
    • Queen Anne has potential slide areas.
  • Our steep hills hinder mobility and access
  • We have no neighborhood hospital, but do have a Fire Station in Magnolia and Queen Anne with Emergency Medical Technician (EMT).  There are several medical clinics in Magnolia and Queen Anne.
  • 911, City, Fire and medical services will not be available to provide aid, as they have other predefined obligations.

We could lose access to communication, food and water, everyday business transactions, and other necessities that we now take for granted. Electrical, natural gas, water, and sanitary services may be interrupted for a week--or longer.

MIQA residents and businesses must be self-sufficient in disaster response--which requires being prepared.

  • Make a plan.
  • Build a kit.
  • Help each other: "Plan with neighbors for mutual help"

Youth Service Being Prepared!

Produced by the Seattle Red Cross

The Preparedness Pyramid

Levels of Preparation Triangle

The Preparedness Pyramid illustrates that each level of preparedness builds on those below it. Personal and family preparedness depends solely on your own effort. A local neighborhood cannot be prepared without the preparation of its residents; similarly, a district cannot be prepared without the effort of its constituent neighborhoods. Finally, the preparedness of a city is the result of a combined effort from each of its districts. Seattle, MIQA, and your own local neighborood can be prepared, but they all are relying on you.

  • You and Your family
  • you and your neighbors
  • you and your community
  • you and your business
  • build a disaster kit

This is the red level of the Preparedness Pyramid.

Levels of Preparation Triangle

  • YOUR family pet
  • YOUR ELDERLY family
  • Your family with disability

Planning Ahead for the Safety of Your Pets During an Emergency

Produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

City and regional services will be overwhelmed and unavailable to assist individuals, so you and your family must prepare to be self-sufficient.

Our region's disaster prep resource, What To Do To Make It Through, recommends these three steps to prepare:

  • Make a plan
  • Build a kit
  • Help each other: "Plan with neighbors for mutual help"

Make a Plan

  • Make a family emergency and communication plan, including designating a family meeting place and an out-of-area contact person
  • Plan for people (including children),pets, and property
  • Review and practice your plan regularly
  • Familiarize yourself with the MIQA Disaster Response Plan and the location of your nearest hub sites

Build a Disaster Kit

  • create meeting, communication and evacuation plans with your family in case of a disaster
  • establish an out-of-area contact that each person can check in with
  • keep emergency phone numbers handy and teach children how and when to call for help
  • practice your plan every 6 months

Download a detailed family disaster plan.

Did you know?

Text messaging is the best way to communicate during a widespread emergency. Phone calls require
a direct connection while text messages travel in “bursts” that can be transmitted as bandwidth is available.

Building a “grab-and-go” disaster kit is easy--you have most of what you need in your home already! Preparing for three days will suffice for many disasters, like most winter storms, but in order to make it through a major earthquake, you'll need to prepare for at least seven to ten days. The Seattle Office of Emergency Management recommends including items from the Two Hands of Preparedness:

First Hand: Five Life Safety Essentials

  1. Water (one gallon per person per day, for drinking and sanitation)
  2. Items to keep you warm
  3. Items to keep you fed
  4. Items to keep you dry
  5. Safe light source (i.e. not candles—they will be knocked over in an aftershock, potentially causing a fire)

Second Hand: Custom Items

  1. Medication: prescriptions, supplements, and other medications to last you seven to ten days
  2. Information: personal or family documents
  3. Quirks: accommodations for your unique situation (children, pets, elderly dependants)
  4. Comforts: items that restore balance (photos, games, books, personal treasures, chocolate)
  5. Connections: ways to stay connected to your family, friends, neighbors

Check out this guide for more tips on building your family disaster supply kit.


If your child is at school after a major disaster you may have provided a "Comfort Kit" to your child school at the beginning of the school year. By State law, each school should have an emergency plan in place that details the caring for children in the event of a disaster. However, schools are individually responsible for what is in their plan and how they will operate. It is important for every parent to ask their school about their emergency plan, and whether your school’s staff is current and experienced with the plan. It is important for schools to know about any community “Emergency Communications Hub,“ so they can communicate their needs to the general community and city.

Help Each Other

  • Talk with a neighbor about how you might help each other in an emergency
  • Organize your block into a SNAP group
  • Volunteer now to help prepare for and respond to a disaster in MIQA
  • Participate in a training

Additional resources include:

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