Emergency preparedness on campus

By Kimberly Absher
The BCC Public Safety Web site offers directions on what to do in a variety of emergency circumstances, from natural disasters to acts of violence.

“The information on the Web site is the national standard for the situation,” said Maggie Whetsel, the Director of Public Safety.
Though emergencies are unlikely, we never know when they will come up. If you are on campus and are involved in any emergency, dial 911, then call Public Safety at 425-564-2400.
“The biggest emergency we deal with are 911 calls, where people are sick or if somebody gets hurt, and we need to call for an aid car,” said Whetsel.
In the case of more serious situations, the necessary action varies. “Most preparations at this type start with individual preparations,” said Whetsel. “Every individual should be looking at if they’re prepared. That includes having things in your office, or backpack or car, that you can use in case of an emergency. Do you have a blanket? A flashlight? Do you have some food?”
The American Red Cross and King County agree that personal preparedness is the best way to start, and strongly suggest three ways to get prepared: build a kit, make a plan, and get involved.
Building an emergency kit can be either pretty basic, or very elaborate, depending on how much time and money you want to spend on it. There are emergency kits for sale from the American Red Cross Web site also.
In general, the kit should have three days worth of supplies. It should be in an easily accessible place that you can get to quickly. Basic medical supplies such as a pair of latex gloves, antibacterial ointment, and either antiseptic wipes or alcohol-based hand sanitizer are good places to start.
It is important to include any medications you or your family members take on a regular basis, and any medical information or history. Other suggestions for the kit include clothing and bedding, tools such as flashlights, tape, and a non-electric can opener, and toilet paper and other sanitation items.
Other things you should include are important documents, such as insurance cards, social security cards, and passports. These should be kept in a waterproof container, such as a zip-lock bag.
You can also have items for entertainment, such as a deck of cards, books, or a radio that is battery or wind-up operated. This can be helpful while waiting for assistance.
The second step, according to Red Cross and the King County Web sites, is to “make a plan.” This involves deciding on one or more possible evacuation routes if there is an emergency at your home, and making sure all members of the household know what that is. Also, be aware of the evacuation routes at work and school, and other places you frequent.
It is also a good idea to establish a place to meet, as well as arrange an out-of-state contact that every individual can contact to “check-in” with one another.
The King County website also suggests if people are interested, to take a First Aid or CPR class. These are offered through the American Red Cross, and at some community organizations in the area, such as the YMCA. This is a great way to “get involved” and be able to assist someone if and when the need arises.
“A good thing to start with is your own personal preparedness, and looking at what things you need to survive and take care of yourself,” said Whetsel. “Because in order to take care of anyone else, you have to be OK.”
“My hope is to get student organizations involved, and have them get an emergency disaster preparedness class. I would like to have the clubs or organizations contact me and I would love to go talk to them and get them prepared. Because I think the students can be used to help in these types of emergencies, instead of standing around and looking, I would love for them to know how to get involved.”
Maggie Whetsel offers a 90-minute disaster preparedness class that emphasizes personal preparation and it is available to any students who are interested.
For more information, please visit BCC’s Public Safety website at http://bellevuecollege.edu/publicsafety/emergencyKing County’s website, visit http://www.govlink.org/3days3ways For more information from American Red Cross, visit http://www.redcross.org/services/prepare/0,1082,0_239_,00.html .asp For