Emergency Preparedness

Preparedness is the foundation for building resilient communities. While the City of Burien focuses on preparing our whole community for disasters, you also have a role to play in emergency preparedness. By planning ahead, you can increase your ability to survive and thrive in the face of disaster, everything from an earthquake to a major winter storm.

Individual Preparedness

Preparedness starts with you. Take the time to think about your daily activities. What do you need to do to ensure that you are able to recover from a disaster that disrupts your life?

Knowing what your hazards are, and what to do during related emergencies, is important step to staying safe. 

If a disaster happens and you are unable to make it home, it is critical you have a family emergency plan and an emergency kit at your workplace and in your vehicle. Creating a plan and assembling a kit doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. A communication plan should include phone numbers for loved ones and public safety agencies, as well as a designated place to meet if you are separated. Emergency kits should include (at minimum) the following items:


  • 1 gallon per person per day 


  • Non-perishable food with a long shelf-life
  • Consider products that do not require cooking
  • Food items you like to eat


  • Light-sources that are battery powered or hand-cranked 
  • Portable radio and extra batteries (a great way to stay informed)
  • Have alternate means to charge electronics, such as your phone or computer 


  • At least one extra pair of warm clothing
  • Rainproof outer clothing and boots to keep you dry
  • Comfortable, sturdy shoes in case you need to walk long distances

First aid kit

  • Basic items, such as bandages, antiseptic wipes, gauze pads, scissors, tweezers, and pain-relief medication
  • Prescriptions and personal medical equipment

Don't forget the needs of your pets too!

Prepare your Family

Disasters can happen when you are not with your loved ones. It is important for your family to discuss how to contact one another, reunite, and respond during different situations. A good family emergency plan should include:

  • A home meeting spot
  • An out-of-area contact
  • Public safety phone numbers for your area (police, fire, hospital)
  • Reunification location, if you can’t make it to your home

Each family member should keep personal and emergency phone numbers in a safe place, such as your wallet or emergency kit. They should also know alternative methods for contacting each other if phone lines are down, and for traveling to your reunification location. Deciding these details in advance will help make you calmer during a disaster.

Don't forget the needs of your pets too!

If your family includes children, involve them in your planning and teach them about potential disasters. Empower your children to take appropriate actions to remain safe during a specific emergency. Teach them who to call when they need help, and where to go if they aren’t able to make it home.

Reduce the likelihood that your children, especially toddlers and infants, will get hurt during an earthquake by securing large furniture, pictures, and other heavy objects that could fall and harm them.  At age four, children can start learning safety actions, such as DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON when the ground shakes.

Prepare your Home

Sometimes disasters can impact your home. Preparing the area where you live helps keep you safe and will minimize damage to your property. There are several ways you can prepare your home: 

Emergency Resources in Multiple Languages