Are You Geared Up?

Our community could face another flood or other disaster at any time. Be prepared.  Be self-sufficient.

Minimize Your Risk with a Good Checklist

Prepare your home and property for an emergency:

  • Utilities:

o        Learn how to turn off all utilities, and teach family members if appropriate. Have required tools stored at the location they will be needed;

o        Have a back-up plan for heat;

o        If you have a backup generator, be sure it operates and that you keep the gas fresh;

o        Have a conventional telephone on hand for power outages; and

o        Keep fresh water on hand.

  • Keep important documents and precious possessions in a secure location, and keep copies of appropriate documents in your “Go Bag”. Consider a fireproof safe and/or waterproof containers.
  • Identify areas of your home that could flood, and avoid storing items in these areas.
  • Keep your property in order, and consider clearing flammable material, including vegetation, away from your home. Secure items that could float away.
  • Have working fire extinguishers and be sure that everyone knows how to use them. Keep fire/carbon monoxide detectors in working order.
  • Check that your property insurance is adequate, and read the fine print.


Prepare yourself and family members:

  • Communication:

o      Identify a ‘High Ground Buddy’ who can assist you and/or your pets in the event of an evacuation;

o      Have a battery-operated radio in your “Go Bag”;

o      Be sure all family members know where to gather in case of emergency – indoors and out;

o      Devise home evacuation plans from all rooms of your house and practice them;

o      Be aware of evacuation plans from public places, such as schools and businesses;

o      Develop a plan for maintaining family contact; and

o      Discuss plans with your neighbors. If you or your neighbors have special needs, consider ways to help, or how others can help you.

  • Create “Go Bags” for your family and individual family members. Create checklists for these bags, or access existing checklists. Consider family needs including clothing, medicines, snacks, water, first aid kits, flashlights, etc.
  • Take advantage of training opportunities, such as CPR and CERT.
  • Be sure your electronics are backed up and protected.
  • Keep your vehicles gassed up.

What belongs in your Go-Bag?

Your Go-Bag serves as your emergency survival kit in the event you need to GO, and go quickly!  It must be ready to walk out the door at a moment’s notice during periods of severe weather or other disaster warnings.  If your home is small and supplies limited, consider keeping a semi-equipped bag ready at all times, but include a handy checklist of the last minute daily-use items to add (i.e. your prescriptions, dentures, etc).

Food and Water.  Try to store a week’s supply.  Food should be non-perishable, ready-to-eat, easy to prepare.  Don’t forget pet food for the same duration, as well as a plate, cup, utensils, and a can opener.  Assume one gallon of water per person per day.  Depending on your evacuation plan (i.e. shelter-in-place, staying with a friend, camping, Red Cross shelter), other considerations include a portable water filtration/purification system or some unscented bleach to purify water.

First Aid, Hygiene.  Make sure you have an adequate supply of all necessary prescription or over-the-counter drugs.  Other items to include: contact lens supplies, wet wipes, toilet paper, baby items, feminine hygiene supplies, first aid kit, personal items such as toothbrush, toothpaste, dentures, hearing aids/batteries, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant.

Shelter/camping items.  Depending on your family’s exit strategy or intended evacuation destination, consider a camp stove and fuel, sleeping bags/blankets, rubber boots, rain gear, a warm change of clothing stored in waterproof bags.

Tools.  Cell phone, laptop, flashlight, headlamp, portable radio, pen & paper, extra batteries or chargers, pocketknife/Leatherman, work gloves, rubber gloves, goggles, dust mask, tarps, rope, duct tape, candles, waterproof matches, whistle.

Documents/Data.  Photocopies of important documents in a waterproof container and/or portable hard drive, jump drive, or laptop.  (Make sure originals are also somewhere secure from damage!) Don’t forget health/home/car insurance, property records, credit card info, passports, banking info, driver’s license, official ID.

Pet supplies.  Your pet’s go-bag should include adequate food and water, medications, leash, tie-out, collar, tags, necessary health records, bowls, can opener, crate/carrier with bedding, litter box/litter, toys.

And, don’t forget…

A stash of cash!   Banks, ATMs, and credit card machines may not be available during an emergency.

Preparing Your Pets for Emergencies

  • During emergencies, some pet owners remain in a dangerous situation because they cannot leave their pets behind.  Plan ahead so that both you and your pet can mobilize quickly during an evacuation and get to a safe location.  Identify a ‘high ground buddy’ or other potential shelter that can temporarily house you and/or your pet.
  • For households or businesses with multiple pets, dog lots, or livestock, your planning will take more effort and your evacuation could take a lot more time.  Where will you go?  What are your transportation needs?
  • Many pets get separated from their families during the chaos of an emergency. If a disaster is forecasted, be sure to have your pet secured in the house or on a tie-out until the threat has passed.  Help ensure their safety with a personalized collar with your home and cell numbers.  Consider micro-chipping your pet.
  • Store current shot and health records in a waterproof container, such as a freezer bag, and keep them with your important family documents.  Keep a photo of your pet in the event he or she gets separated from you.


  • Your pet’s ‘Go-Bag’ should include:

o        Enough food and water for a week (Don’t forget bowls and a can opener, if needed)

o        Pet carrier and/or bedding

o        Leash and/or tie-out

o        Medications and pet first aid kit

o        Paper towels or wet wipes

o        Plastic bags for waste cleanup

o        Litter box and cat litter

  • During an emergency, avoid a pet’s exposure to environmental contaminants such as polluted flood water or wildfire smoke.  Pay attention to life-threatening situations like swiftly flowing water or downed power lines.
  • The Mat-Su Borough will attempt to make emergency pet shelter resources available during a disaster.  If a disaster strikes, seek out official MSB public information announcements to find out what services might be available, and where they will be located.
    • In the event animals must be left behind during an evacuation, the Borough requests households inform animal rescue workers of your pet’s status, i.e. on your front door or in a highly visible window.  Use chalk, paint or marker to write the number and types of pets in your residence, including their location in the home and the date that you evacuated. Leave plenty of water in a large, open container that cannot be tipped over. Leave plenty of food, but if your pet is prone to overeating, consider a timed feeder. Do not tie up your pet in your home.

Know where to go for accurate disaster information

Emergency Preparedness Resources 

Go to the Matanuska-Susitna Borough (MSB) website  and click on the Emergency Preparedness link on the left side.  You’ll find valuable information on Emergency checklists, Go-Bags, MSB resources and emergency contacts, First Aid, safety information, advice for families with small children, advice for individuals with special needs, and reminders for pet owners.

Other important emergency preparedness resources include:

Federal Emergency Management Agency:

State of Alaska           

Trusted Information Sources for WHEN a disaster strikes locally

Rumors can travel fast, particularly in an emergency when adrenalin and emotions are high.  It is critical for your safety to get the most accurate information possible about an imminent environmental threat.  Matanuska-Susitna Borough emergency services has several methods of keeping you and your family informed, including official media releases through its main website,  and up-to-the-minute updates via the Borough Facebook page at  Due to the ease, timeliness, and wide audience of Facebook, it has rapidly become an important and accepted tool in rapid information dissemination. It is important to know that you do NOT need your own Facebook account to access this critical source.

The Upper Susitna Valley is fortunate to have a public radio station, KTNA Talkeetna Community Radio, which was developed and funded with the primary mission of keeping the community informed in the event of an emergency.  KTNA is a vital conduit of information provided directly by MSB public information officers, incident commanders, and the local populace itself.  During past flood events, KTNA staff provided on-air radio updates (88.9 FM) approximately every 30 minutes, supplemented by frequent Facebook updates of breaking news ( and intermittent formal news reports on the station’s main website ( As with the MSB Facebook site, a citizen does NOT need to have their own Facebook account to access the KTNA Facebook page, which will reportedly be updated on a more frequent basis than the main KTNA website.