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Preparedness is a gift that lasts beyond holidays

Preparedness is a gift that lasts beyond holidays

By Hollie Stark
Outreach Program Manager

A couple weekends ago, my daughter and I attended a football game at Husky Stadium on the University of Washington campus in Seattle.

The morning started with a deluge and as we drove up I-5 in low visibility dodging standing water along the road. I couldn’t help but blurt out to my daughter, “Good thing we are prepared.”

In our household, that phrase is often met with a friendly eye roll or short burst of laughter.

“That’s your job, mom,” often accompanies the gestures and giggles.

They aren’t wrong. And though we talk about preparedness with a bit of tongue-in-cheek, my kids also take it seriously. They are well-conditioned to think about their surroundings and what they would do if any of Washington’s geologic hazards – earthquake, volcano, tsunami, and more – were to occur.

On the geohazards and outreach team, we eat, breathe and sleep (well, dream) about natural hazards, how they could impact our residents and visitors, and what to do to be prepared for them.

So it wasn’t really any surprise that I carried some extra peace of mind knowing that I had an umbrella packed in my car kit, along with extra windshield wiper fluid, rain ponchos, gloves and hand warmers … among other things.

As we head into the busy holiday season, our senses will be filled with wishes for peace on earth. But what about peace of mind?

That is a gift you can give yourself, your family, or your friends that will last well beyond the holidays.

Here are some simple tips on how:


As you gather around the turkey, pause to light the menorah, open Christmas gifts, or ring in the new year, take a moment to talk to your loved ones about being prepared. Chat about how you would communicate if there was an emergency, how you would reunite if you were separated, or what resources and skills you have that you could share with family, friends, or neighbors.

Give the gift of preparedness

This blog started out with the idea of creating a simple preparedness wish list for holiday shopping. I think preparedness gifts can go a really long way. And hey, you can always be the “fun” uncle that gives your nieces and nephews a whistle (for when kids are lost, of course).

One of my favorite stocking stuffers is hand warmers. Great for power outages in the winter, getting stuck in the snow, or attending a football game.

Here are some other great options:

  • Flashlights (don’t forget the batteries)
  • First aid kits
  • Life Straws/water purification
  • Socks (nothing is more comforting than a pair of warm, dry socks in an emergency)
  • Mylar bivy sacks
  • Miniature hygiene items (another great stocking stuffer)
  • Don’t forget your pets

Find more emergency kit tips at

Make preparedness a journey

Preparedness doesn’t happen in a day.

I remember the first marathon I ever ran. I wouldn’t have been able to finish the 26.2 miles if I hadn’t taken the time to train, week after week, day by day, one foot in front of the other until I was prepared to go the distance.

If we think about preparedness like a marathon instead of a sprint, a journey we do consistently over time, we can take small steps now that will lead to greater resilience and more peace of mind for the future.

Happy holidays, everyone!