March 11, 2016

Disaster Preparedness

Bay City lies in an area that can face many types of natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, landslides, wind storms and even wildfires. So knowing what to do during a disaster and being prepared to take care of yourself and your family is critical.

Earthquakes & Tsunamis

During an Earthquake

  • Move to a safe location.
  • A safe location could be a sturdy table or piece of furniture.
  • If there isn’t anything close to you, cover your face and head with your arms, and crouch in an inside corner of the building.
  • Stay away from glass, windows, outside doors and walls, and anything that could fall.
  • If you are in bed, stay there. Hold on and protect your head with a pillow unless you are under a heavy light fixture. If so, move to the nearest safe place.
  • Do not use a doorway for shelter unless you know it is strongly supported, and close to you. Many inside doorways are lightly constructed and offer very little protection, especially with a swinging door.
  • Stay inside until the shaking stops and it is safe to go outside. Do not exit a building during the shaking unless the building catches fire.

After an Earthquake

  • Look around before moving to ensure it is safe before exiting a building.
  • Expect and be prepared for Tsunamis and aftershocks.
    Map courtesy of DOGAMI

    Map courtesy of DOGAMI

    Be sure to move to a safe spot outdoors away from anything that could fall during additional shaking. If you in a low lying area move to higher ground. Remember, earthquakes can be followed by a Tsunami as soon as 10 minutes after and aftershocks could occur anytime during the next few minutes, up to months afterward.

  • Check yourself and your family for injuries. Help injured or trapped people. Be aware of neighbors who may require special assistance. Give first aid if appropriate or necessary. Do not move seriously injured people unless they are in danger.
  • Do not use the telephone except for emergencies.
  • Extinguish small fires if it is safe to do so.
  • Listen to battery powered radio for emergency information. Expect that there will be no electricity.
  • Check your home for damaged sewage, gas or water lines. If anything appears damaged, or you smell/hear gas, turn off the lines.
  • Check for additional damage or potential weaknesses to chimneys, or foundation that may be further damaged during aftershocks.
  • Stay away from damaged areas.


Photo courtesy of Michael Hains

Photo courtesy of Michael Hains

  • If possible, stay home during flood events.
  • Do not walk through moving water. Even 6 inches of moving water can knock down an average sized adult.
  • Do not drive into flooded areas or drive around road closures. TURN AROUND, DON’T DROWN.
  • If caught in a flood in your vehicle, climb to the roof of your car, and stay with it. Do not try to swim through the flooded area.
  • If you live near a river or stream you should be prepared to evacuate at anytime during a flood event

High Winds

  • If possible, stay home during high winds.


    Photo courtesy of Wolf Reed

  • Secure windows and shutters against high winds. If possible, secure outside furniture or move it inside before the winds start.
  • If you need to travel, be aware of possible falling trees, debris and downed power lines.
  • If driving a large or high profile vehicle, be extra cautious of wind gusts that may cause you to be pushed with the wind.
  • If you encounter fallen power poles or power lines, do not approach them!
  • If lines fall on your vehicle, stay inside your vehicle unless it catches fire. If this happens, exit your car safely by opening the door and jumping clear of the vehicle without touching any metal portions of the vehicles exterior. Quickly get to a safe distance from the power lines and well out of lanes of travel.

Preparation before a Natural Disaster

  • Teach your family what to do in case of any emergency, natural or otherwise. Know where to meet after an emergency.
  • Find basic services around your home: electricity, water, gas, etc. Know how to turn all of these off.
  • Build an emergency kit. Be sure to include enough food and water for at least 72 hours for each family member. Be sure to keep supplies up to date.  Place your emergency kit in an easily accessible area in your home.

Example of items to include in your kit:Disaster_Kit_1

  • 1 Gallon of water per person per day
  • Non Perishable food
  • Battery Powered Radio with extra batteries
  • Flashlights with extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Dust Masks
  • Clothing/Bedding
  • Jacket/Coat, long sleeve shirts, sturdy shoes

An important way to stay prepared for natural disasters is to stay informed on current conditions.  Check the links below for current information on weather warnings, river levels, road conditions and tsunami information.