September is National Preparedness Month

NPM_logo_CMYK_FINALBy Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

According to, research indicates individuals “who believe they are prepared for disasters often are not as prepared as they think,” while others may not be prepared at all. Imagine you are at work when an earthquake strikes your city leaving phone lines down, roads inaccessible, and you separated from you family. What is your plan?

The Federal Emergency Management Agency states that most disaster situations strike when families are not together. Being prepared beforehand can help reduce stress and length of time apart, and prevent further emergency situations.

Knowing who to call, where to meet and what to pack should be included in your family emergency plan, along with practicing that plan on a regular basis.

FEMA suggests sending text messages to contact one another in the event of emergency as phone lines become overloaded and calls are disrupted. You can also create contact cards for each family member that includes how you will communicate in different scenarios, and list out-of-state family members to notify that you are safe. Programming an “ICE” (In Case of Emergency) contact in your phone is also suggested. This can cut down time in an accident for emergency personnel to notify your family of your well-being.

An escape route should also be included in your emergency plan, such as meeting at a local store near your home. It is a good idea to include multiple meeting places in your plan according to your place of work, school, or children’s after-school activities, as disasters can happen at anytime.

Assembling an emergency kit for your home and car can increase your chance of survival until help arrives. Your kit should include enough supplies for at least three days and include important medication, non-perishable food and a gallon of water for each person in your house. Other things that should be considered for your kit include, flashlights, batteries, first aid kits, whistles to signal help, battery powered or solar cell phone chargers, tarps and duct tape for shelter, and a battery-powered radio or hand crank radio.

Knowing your communities emergency plan during different disasters will help your local first responders focus more on aiding people in critical incidents such as fires and collapsed buildings.

Getting involved in your community and receiving training through community emergency response teams, Medical Reserve Corps or your local emergency organizations can help keep your family and community safe from further risks and threats due to disasters.

For more information on preparing an emergency plan for your family, please visit the website or search Tulalip Medical Reserve Corps at


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;



Tulalip offers temporary relief for citizens in case of emergency

By Brandi N. Montreuil, Tulalip News

TULALIPWith the recent events surrounding the major mudslide that occurred four miles east of the OSO community and resulted in 42 confirmed deaths, cities across the region are re-examining their emergency preparedness plans.  In Tulalip, with help from a 2011 $137,000 Tribal Homeland Security grant, a plan is in the implementation phase to provide long-term food and water storage for the Tulalip Reservation.

The need for such a plan arose during the Tulalip Tribes 2010 emergency planning update that included the Tribe’s housing mitigation plan. It was noted at that time that the Tribe lacked the capability to store long-term food or water in the case of a catastrophic event.

Starting in the fall of this year, Tulalip citizens will begin to notice 8×20-foot mobile or cargo trailers placed around the reservation. These trailers will be stocked with 72-hour emergency kits with solar radios and long-term shelf food.

To ensure citizen’s dietary needs are considered, Sandy Evans the Tulalip Medical Reserve Corp Coordinator, will work with a dietician to purchase foods that meet dietary standards, such as diabetic approved foods.

“We are also looking to buy about 30, 55-gallon water barrels and water purification methods and blankets,” explained Rochelle Lubbers, Tulalip Tribes Emergency Management Coordinator. “The emergency kits are the largest cost, and we are not putting a large emphasis on buying shelter equipment, because history shows that people want to stay near their home. They find a way to either camp near their home, or find a relative to stay with. If we ever did need extra sheltering the Red Cross would help.”

Lubbers explains the storage trailers being purchased are specifically to be used in case of catastrophic disasters that would impact not only Tulalip, but also the region surrounding Tulalip, and will be used to service the entire Tulalip Reservation, including non-Tulalip members.

“I can’t say there is a distinction at this time in the plan regarding non-tribal members. The trailers will be located in areas populated with tribal housing, so they naturally favor our tribal members. With that said, once something occurs, we are not going to disregard the need of other people in the community, we will all have to come together,” said Lubbers.

“Ideally we want these storage trailers to become a part of the community. We want the community to feel trained and have supplies accessible. The idea is to get the neighborhoods involved in preparedness,” Lubbers explained. “If you can imagine a regional earthquake that affects multiple cities at the same time, we have to realize no one is coming to help for several days. We are truly on our own.”

This realization that Tulalip could become isolated from surrounding cities is what Lubbers hope neighborhoods will consider when making their own preparedness plans, along with the risk that individual neighborhoods within Tulalip could also become isolated during catastrophe.

Tulalip Emergency Management office will begin announcing trailer placement soon, along with conducting outreach for people interested in being trained in preparedness regarding the emergency storage trailers.

For more information about emergency management, or Tulalip Tribe’s emergency management plan, please contact the Tribe’s emergency management office at 360-716-5945.


Brandi N. Montreuil: 360-913-5402;