Before disaster strikes

March 2, 2012

Newcastle resident encourages emergency preparedness in homes, neighborhoods

For Newcastle resident Paula Spence, there is no such thing as too prepared.

Spence compiles and sells emergency preparedness kits as a home-based business. Taking the time to ensure you have the necessary supplies to endure something as small as a brief power outage or as big as long-term damage from an earthquake can mean all the difference for a family’s safety during a disaster, she said.

“I know some people don’t like to think about it, but I just feel a peace of mind is important to know that you have the supplies on hand that will ensure your safety,” she said.

Contributed Paula Spence, a Newcastle resident and American Red Cross volunteer, compiles materials for emergency kits as a home-based business and promotes emergency preparedness in her neighborhood.

After her now-grown sons began to attend St. Monica Catholic School on Mercer Island, Spence said she quickly began to realize how important emergency preparedness was. About 40 percent of the students lived off the island, and if a natural disaster were to occur, she said she wanted the school to be prepared in case parents were unable to pick up their kids due to an emergency.

“Paula’s passion for emergency preparedness grew out of her love for her children,” said Pam Raleigh of Mercer Island. “Our children went to a school on an island. In an emergency, Paula knew it might take some time before she would be able to reunite with her children. She wanted to insure her children had a plan for safety.”

She began to take emergency preparedness and first aid classes, and worked with the school to have the necessary supplies on hand to be prepared. She also took on a volunteer position with the Seattle-based Red Cross, where she responded to emergencies first hand.

That’s when she started to compile the Emergency-Pac, a red backpack with a three-day supply of food and materials that could help a person respond and get through any emergency.

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Red Cross urges preparedness after windstorm, earthquake

November 16, 2010

NEW — 12:20 p.m. Nov. 16, 2010

After a windstorm Monday night and a magnitude 4.2 earthquake Tuesday morning, the local Red Cross chapter reminds residents to take steps to prepare for severe weather and other emergencies.

“The windstorm and earthquake are good reminders that some basic preparation and common-sense safety tips will help ensure safety during disasters like these,” Susan Pelaez, director of preparedness and community engagement for the local Red Cross chapter, said in a statement. “We know that there is more rain forecasted for Wednesday so it is important to prepare now. This is also a good time to make sure that you have your disaster kit in place.”

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