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Disaster Preparedness Contest Winners

The winners of the local disaster preparedness program What to do to Make it Through poster contest were recently announced: Ellen Lee, a fifth grader at View Ridge Elementary in Seattle, and Dylan Smith, in kindergarten at East Ridge Elementary in Woodinville.

Out of approximately 400 entries, Ellen and Dylan's posters stood out to judges, creatively displaying ways Washington residents and their families should prepare for a disaster. This is the second year of the contest.

Eleven-year-old Ellen chose to focus on an earthquake, creating a comic about what residents of all ages can do to prepare for "the big one" (see her poster image below).

"Given the magnitude of the earthquake that's likely to occur in the Pacific Northwest, it's really important to plan to be self-sufficient for seven to 10 days," says JoAnn Jordan, public education coordinator at the Seattle Office of Emergency Management.


Six-year-old Dylan included trading cards for the different steps kids can take to help their families prepare, such as making a plan, building a kit, and even protecting pets (see his poster image below).

"Experience has shown it could take from several days to more than a week before essential services are restored in the case of an earthquake," says Jordan. "We're talking basics like running water, electricity and phones, plus supplies for infants, seniors or the family cat or dog."

The local What to Do to Make it Through website offers specific steps to help you prepare for several types of disasters, including floods, tsunami, severe weather, fire, terrorist attack, drought or landslides, as well as earthquakes.

First and foremost, Jordan recommends building a kit with enough of these items to last for seven to 10 days:

  • Storage container: a plastic bin, or even an old suitcase or backpacks, which you'll store near an exit

  • Water: one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation

  • Food: seven to 10 days of non-perishable foods per person and pet

  • Cash: small bills are best (ATMs won't work without electricity)

  • Battery-powered radio and extra batteries

  • Flashlight and extra batteries (no candles!)

  • First aid kit

  • Whistle to signal for help

  • Filter mask or cotton t-shirt to help filter the air

  • Moist towelettes for sanitation

  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities, if needed

  • Manual can opener for food

  • Shelter items like tents, tarps and rope

  • Garbage bags and plastic ties for sanitation

  • Unique family needs: supplies for infants, pets and elderly; prescriptions; important family documents

Congratulations to Ellen, Dylan and all of the kids who entered the contest. To learn more about the Make it Through initiative, visit www.makeitthrough.org.


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