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Personal & Family Preparedness

Whether due to a local emergency or regional disaster, we are likely to find ourselves, at some time, having to survive on our own, and possibly under dangerous conditions. Following are some tips to prepare for and recover from a disaster.


  • Kit Suplly ListMake a plan. Consider how you and your family members will get to a safe place, communicate with each other if you are not together, and what you will do in different situations (e.g. if there’s a fire vs. if an earthquake hits). Learn more about making a plan here.
  • Establish an out-of-area emergency contact and share the information with your loved ones. When the worst of the incident is over, let your contact know, briefly, how you are doing. Loved ones should contact this person for the information, leaving local lines free for emergencies.
  • Stock at least several days of emergency supplies at home, work, in vehicles, and anywhere else you regularly spend time. Update twice a year. See Emergency Supply Kit for supplies list and other helpful tips.
  • Maintain your ability to send and receive information wherever you are, with a battery operated or wind-up radio, a cell phone and a weather radio.
    • Remember that in some instances, when phone lines are overloaded, a text message may go through before a phone call does.
    • Keep GPS activated on your smartphone to enable location services and receive local emergency alerts. Also, in instances of severe injury, your smartphone could help responders locate you.
  • Sign up for monthly preparedness text messages: Text PREPARE to 43362 (4FEMA) to receive monthly preparedness tips (message/data rates apply).
  • Follow relevant local and national emergency response agencies on social media.
    • The Office of Emergency Management’s Twitter @OEMKirkland has several lists ready for you to follow.
  • Equip your home with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers and fire escape ladders. Test them regularly.
  • Prepare for power outages by knowing where your utility shutoffs are, learning how to use them, and keeping windup or battery operated flashlights (with extra batteries) in your emergency supply kits.
    • If possible, acquire a portable generator or have one professionally installed outside your home.
    • If the power goes out, make sure you only use your generator OUTSIDE to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning!
  • If possible, update your insurance for disaster coverage.


  • Remain calm. Breathe deeply to relax. Keeping your calm is essential to be able to make safe choices for yourself and those around you.
  • Stay put in the safest location where you are (See Sheltering).
  • Listen to radio news broadcasts for the latest conditions.
  • Let your loved ones know you are okay by posting an update on social media.
  • Communicate calmly and positively with children.


  • Assess your own condition and your surroundings before moving.
  • Proceed with extreme caution to any other location.
  • If necessary, search for open shelters by texting SHELTER and a Zip Code to 43362 (4FEMA). E.g. Shelter 98033 (standard rates apply).
  • Listen to radio news broadcasts regarding local conditions and the availability of shelters and other assistance.
  • Check social media for potential real-time information (keeping in mind that depending on the source, information may or may not be accurate).
  • Call the City’s disaster information line (425) 587-3767 occasionally for recorded updates regarding the Kirkland area.
  • If possible, let your out-of-area contact (briefly) know how you are doing.
  • Call the City Emergency Hotline (425) 587-5750 to report serious conditions in your area. THIS NUMBER WILL ONLY BE ACTIVATED WHEN THE CITY’S EMERGENCY OPERATION CENTER (EOC) IS ACTIVATED.
  • Call 9-1-1 strictly for true emergencies.
  • Stay off roads unless absolutely necessary to get somewhere.

You can also find more hazard-specific preparedness tips HERE, including ones for earthquakes, winter storms, floods and mudslides, communicable diseases, and various forms of terrorism.

For more comprehensive information, go to for easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions on how to become disaster-ready!

Fire Services
123 5th Avenue, Kirkland WA 98033

General Inquiries
T. 425.587.3650 | F. 425.587.3671