Local Burning Guide

Burn Restrictions lifted as of Oct 18, 2023

Current Restriction Level – LOW (Green)

Northwest Interagency Coordination Center – Seasonal Weather Update

DNR wildfire and agency leadership

Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz oversees the Department of Natural Resources and its responsibility to prevent and fight wildfires on 13 million acres of private, state and tribal-owned forestlands. This includes supervising the state’s largest  fire department, which participates in Washington’s coordinated interagency approach to firefighting, as well as managing 3 million acres of state trust lands, 2.6 million acres of state aquatic lands, 96 state natural areas, rule administration across 12 million acres of Washington forestlands, and the Washington State Geology Survey.

Local Burning Guidelines – land clearing burns restricted as of 6/4/23

EJFR Land Clearing & Burning Policy

EJFR Land Clearing & Burning SOG

Burn Permit Application

Map of the boundaries of the Irondale/Port Hadlock UGA.

For information on the normal burn regulations in our district, click on the PDF below:

Outdoor Burning Guidelines

Burn Barrel Information

For additional information regarding burning status in all Washington state counties:

Washington Burn Bans.

Burning Alternatives for yard waste via the Olympic Region Clean Air Agency (ORCAA)


Wildfire Preparation

Be Wildfire Ready

Whether you rent, own a vacation home, own a forested property, or just live in a home with a backyard, we offer clear steps to help you prepare for wildfires. It all starts with your community. Step one is to engage with your neighbors and develop a plan, because one of our best defenses against wildfire is collaboration.



Keep your property lean and green to help protect your family and home.
Creating defensible space is essential to improve your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. It’s the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This space is needed to slow or stop the spread of wildfire and it protects your home from catching fire from direct flame contact or radiant heat. Defensible space is also important for the protection of the firefighters defending your home.

Defensible Space Zones

Two zones make up the required 100 feet of defensible space.

Zone 1
Zone 1 extends 30 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc. Remove all dead plants, grass and weeds (vegetation). Remove dead or dry leaves and pine needles from your yard, roof and rain gutters. Trim trees regularly to keep branches a minimum of 10 feet from other trees. Remove branches that hang over your roof and keep dead branches 10 feet away from your chimney. Relocate wood piles into Zone 2. Remove or prune flammable plants and shrubs near windows. Remove vegetation and items that could catch fire from around and under decks. Create a separation between trees, shrubs and items that could catch fire, such as patio furniture, wood piles, swing sets, etc.

Zone 2
Zone 2 extends 100 feet out from buildings, structures, decks, etc. Cut or mow annual grass down to a maximum height of 4 inches. Create horizontal spacing between shrubs and trees. (See diagram) Create vertical spacing between grass, shrubs and trees. (See diagram) Remove fallen leaves, needles, twigs, bark, cones, and small branches. However, they may be permitted to a depth of 3 inches.

Plant and Tree Spacing

Distance between grass, shrubs, and trees is crucial to reduce the spread of wildfires. The spacing needed is determined by the type and size of brush and trees, as well as the slope of the land. For example, a property on a steep slope with larger vegetation requires greater spacing between trees and shrubs than a level property that has small, sparse vegetation.


Vertical Spacing

Remove all tree branches at least 6 feet from the ground and allow extra vertical space between shrubs and trees. Lack of vertical space can allow a fire to move from the ground to the brush to the tree tops like a ladder.  To determine the proper vertical spacing between shrubs and the lowest branches of trees, use the formula below. Example: A five foot shrub is growing near a tree. 3×5 = 15 feet of clearance needed between the top of the shrub and the lowest tree branch.

Wildland Fire Protection tips for your Home


Fire Resistant Plants


How We Prepare

Training happens on a daily basis at EJFR. Our career staff train every shift. Weekend and evening classes are frequently offered for our volunteer staff. Station 1-5 serves as our main training facility, which is where Assistant Chief Pete Brummel heads up the program.

Wildland firefighting drill preparation for summer – “Red Card Day”

Each June a “Red Card” day is held to prepare several firefighters in Jefferson County for the upcoming “wildland season.” Instructors from multiple agencies including Port Ludlow Fire & Rescue; East Jefferson Fire Rescue; Quilcene Fire & Rescue; Brinnon Fire Department; Discovery Bay Fire Department; Clallam County Fire Dist. 2; Department of Natural Resources (DNR); U.S. Forest Service and Olympic National Park and their personnel participate in what has become a 2-3 day training, generally held at the Trail Nine golf course in Port Ludlow.

Skills testing includes wildland urban interface/structure preparedness using a variety of wildland firefighting equipment; progressive hose lays; securing a water supply, utilizing portable pumps and a water tank to supply hose operations; fire line construction; entrapment avoidance and identifying escape routes, safety zones and fire shelter deployment.

Position task books outline the specific requirements that need to be met by individuals seeking to obtain a Red Card.

Olympic Peninsula fire districts are surrounded by public lands and work with federal agencies. Having local district firefighters trained to assist other agencies if/when there is a need, among other benefits, creates opportunities for training with other agencies.

Community Programs

East Jefferson Fire Rescue is actively involved in the local community. From fundraisers to free life safety education, we provide a wealth of services which go beyond the emergency response we’re known for.

Blood Pressure Checks

EJFR personnel provide blood pressure checks as a free service to the community.

To receive your free blood pressure check, drop by one of our staffed stations or the Administrative office when crews are there.

Car Seat Safety

EJFR has two certified Car Seat Safety Technicians on staff who would be happy to conduct a free car seat safety inspection while you wait.

The inspection, which takes about 30 minutes, is a hands-on examination of your vehicle’s design and restraint system. It also incorporates an interview about your child’s size and weight. If you already have a car seat installed, we’ll review it’s current location and installation to ensure that everything is correct. We’ll also check to ensure that there have been no safety recalls on your car seat.

This free service is available by appointment only and can take place at the fire station located closest to you. Call (360) 385-2626 to make an appointment.

After the Fire

Recovering from a fire can be a physically and mentally draining process. Often, the hardest part is knowing where to begin and who to contact.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) United States Fire Administration (USFA) has gathered the following information to assist you in this time of need. Action on some of the suggestions will need to be taken immediately.

Download your free copy of ‘After the Fire’ a booklet which provides information on recovering from a fire, including what to do during the first 24 hours, insurance considerations, valuing your property, replacement of valuable documents, salvage hints, fire department operations, and more.

After the Fire

For the Children

Kids, you can help prevent fires in your home by following a few important safey tips:

1. Don’t play with matches, lighters or dangerous, flammable liquids like gasoline.
2. Make sure nothing flammable is too close to your fireplace or wood stove.
3. Make sure you have smoke detectors in your house and that they have fresh batteries. If your house doesn’t have a smoke detector, we’ll give your family a free one and help you to install it. Call (360) 385-2626 during business hours for more information.

If you do have a fire in your house, or you smell smoke or hear the smoke alarm, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE. Yell to wake your family if it’s at night but don’t stop to gather pets or toys. It’s important that you get out fast. Crawl low if there’s smoke and if your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll.
Call 9-1-1 from outside the house. Arrange ahead of time an outdoor meeting place for your family to gather in case of a fire. Go to Sparky’s Page below to learn a lot more about fire safety.

Links to fire safety sites with fun games and activities:

Sparky the Fire Dog ® is a trademark of NFPA, Quincy, MA”

U.S. Fire Administration for Kids

FEMA for Kids

Smoky Bear for Kids

Parents, if you would like free activity books and materials to help teach your kids about fire safety call (360) 385-2626. We have lots of great materials available to parents of preschool and grade school kids.

Station Tours

We offer tours of our stations for your classroom, group or club. Come see where our firefighters live 24 hours a day so we’re always ready to respond to an emergency. You can climb into the driver’s seat of the engine and sit in the back of the ambulance. You’ll also learn about the fire gear that protects firefighters from the heat and flames of fires. Call the administrative office at 360.385.2626 for more information.

File of Life

As a service to our community, EJFR offers complimentary Files of Life.

The File of Life packet includes valuable medical and life-safety resources, such as:

  • Hands-free CPR instruction
  • Membership application to local Air Care programs
  • Physician’s Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST) form
  • Two medication lists (one for your refrigerator and one for your purse or wallet)
  • Two red envelopes for the medication lists (the one for the refrigerator is magnetic)

Contact our administrative offices to receive a free File of Life today.

CPR Classes

EJFR offers free Friends and Family CPR Training. Sign up for our next opportunity online! Please call the main office at 360.385.2626 with any questions.

Fire Prevention

Fire Prevention & Inspection Division

In a continuing effort to improve life and fire safety for citizens in Jefferson County FPD No. 1 Assistant Chief Brian Tracer leads the Fire Prevention and Inspection Division. 

This division focuses on inspection efforts on places of mass gathering such as hospitals, nursing homes and churches before transitioning to local businesses. Chief Tracer stated that his division will initiate contact with owner/managers of inspection sites to arrange a time to conduct an inspection. 

EJFR Offers Free Training to the Public

Please call the Administrative office at (360) 385-2626 if you would like to schedule Fire Safety training for a group. Be sure to give us at least a week to schedule and prepare.

Self-Inspection Building Worksheet

Below, you’ll find a copy of our self-inspection building worksheet. Feel free to download and use this form while conducting a self-inspection of your premises. This is an excellent indicator of what we’ll be looking at when our inspectors arrive.

Self Inspection Form – 2021

Fire Safety Inspection Checklist for Home

You don’t need the fire department to conduct your own fire safety inspection. Use this checklist as a guide while performing your home inspection. Better still, make the inspection a family event so everyone becomes more aware of fire safety!

Have An Escape Plan and Practice It

Develop a home fire escape plan today. . . It could save your life tonight!

Include all possible emergency exits.

Create a drawing of the floor plan of your house. Draw in all the doors, windows and stairways. This will show your family all possible escape routes at a glance. Include any features, such as the roof of a garage or porch, that would help in your escape.

Show two ways out of every room, if possible.

The door will be the main exit from every room. However, if the door is blocked by smoke or fire, identify an alternate escape route, which could be a window. Make sure all windows can open easily and that everyone knows how to escape through them safely.

Does anyone need help to escape?

Decide in advance who will assist the very young, older adults or people with disabilities in your household. A few minutes of planning will save valuable seconds in a real emergency.

Choose a meeting place outside.

Choose a meeting place a safe distance from your home that everyone will remember. A tree, street light or a neighbor’s home are all good choices. In case of fire, everyone will go directly to this meeting place so they can be accounted for.

Call the fire department from outside your home.

Don’t waste valuable seconds by calling the fire department from inside your home. Once you have safely escaped, call 9-1-1 from a cell phone or a neighbor’s home.

Practice your escape.

Review the plan with everyone in your household by walking through the escape routes for each room with the entire family. Check the escape routes, making sure all exits are practical and easy to use. Hold a fire drill twice a year. In a real fire, you must be able to react without hesitation as your escape routes may be quickly blocked by smoke or flames.


  • Plan two ways out of every room if possible.
  • Hold a fire drill twice a year.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas.

Additional Information

Be Kitchen Smart

This is a dramatic, 30-second video about how to deal with a common kitchen fire — oil in a frying pan.

As the video demonstrates, it’s important not to throw water on the oil or grease fire. The explosive force of the steam blows the burning oil up and out. Inside the confines of a kitchen, the fire ball hits the ceiling and fills the entire room.

Also, do not throw sugar or flour on a grease fire. One cup of either creates the explosive force of two sticks of dynamite.

If you have a grease or oil fire, follow the instructions in the video:

  • First, turn off the source of heat.
  • Second, wet a kitchen towel with water, wring out the excess water, and place the saturated towel over the open top of the burning pot or pan.
  • Third, wait until the fire is out and the pan has cooled before handling it.

If the fire grows beyond the confines of the pot or pan, immediately dial 911 for help.

Space Heaters Need Space

The following space heater safety tips were obtained from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.


  • Use a space heater that has been tested to the latest safety standards and has been certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory. These heaters have the most up-to-date safety features. Older space heaters may not meet newer safety standards. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions for proper use.
  • Place the heater on a level, hard, nonflammable surface, such as a ceramic tile floor.
  • Keep the heater at least three feet away from bedding, drapes, furniture, and other flammable materials.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Turn the heater off if you leave the area.


  • Never leave a space heater on when you go to sleep.
  • Don’t place a space heater close to any sleeping person.
  • Never use gasoline in a kerosene space heater, as even small amounts of gasoline mixed with kerosene can increase the risk of fire.
  • Don’t use portable propane space heaters indoors or in any confined space unless they are specifically designed for indoor use.

Smoke Detectors

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.

Smoke alarms save lives. If there is a fire in your home, smoke spreads fast and you need smoke alarms to give you time to get out. Having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Almost two-thirds of home fire deaths resulted from fires in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Here’s what you need to know

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years

More about staying safe with smoke alarms.

9-volt Batteries Can Cause Fires

A fire destroys a home. The owner barely gets out alive. The fire department investigation determines that the fire’s place of origin is a kitchen “junk” drawer. The cause? Nine-volt batteries loose in the drawer. A metal object touched the posts of the batteries, causing a short circuit, which created enough heat to start a fire.

NFPA’s 9-volt battery safety tip sheet warns that it is unsafe to store 9-volt batteries in a drawer near paper clips, pens, coins or other batteries.

Health and Safety

Heart Attack Warning Signs

Chest discomfort

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Shortness of breath

This may occur with or without chest discomfort.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body

Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Other signs

This may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stroke Warning Signs

Sudden Onset

  1. Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  4. Dizziness, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Severe headache with no known cause

These heart attack and stroke warning signs come from the American Heart Association.

Project Lifesaver

EJFR is now participating in Project Lifesaver, presented by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. Project Lifesaver is a program to locate at-risk people who may wander, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s patients, Down’s Syndrome people or those with Autism.

The program uses state-of-the-art technology and an electronic bracelet to enable a specially trained team to track clients who wander off.

For more information on this program, read the Project Lifesaver Brochure.

Fall Prevention

Falls are the leading cause of unintentional death in the home. Approximately 30% of people 65 and older are involved in falls each year. By age 75, you’re three times more likely than the population at large to be injured or killed in a fall.

There are a number of potential implications when you fall. First and foremost, you may be injured. There could be long-term complications or disability, reduced mobility and possible loss of independence.

The good news is, you can do a number of things to reduce your chance of falling.

7 tips for fall prevention

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise makes you stronger, more flexible and better balanced.

Take your time

Slow and steady wins the race – particularly during the period after you awaken from sleep. Sit on the side of the bed until you can collect your thoughts before you begin to move.

Clear the way

Loose area rugs, electrical cords and items left on the floor are all trip hazards.

Slippery when wet

Bathrooms are a frequent location for falls. Wet tiles and bathtub bottoms can make for hazardous conditions. Put down non-slip rugs in the bathroom and rubber, sticking mats on the bottom of the bath tub to reduce the likelihood of slips and falls.

Throw rugs can throw you

If you want throw rugs, be sure not to place them on top of existing carpet. They are an easy trip hazard. On linoleum, hardwood or tile floors, use only throw rugs with sticky rubber backing…the kinds that won’t slip and slide on the floors.

Look out for yourself

Make sure your living area is well-lit. Poor lighting can lead to trips and falls. Place lamps on both sides of your bed within easy reach. Use night lights in your bedroom and bathroom for those occasional late-night trips.

Best foot forward

Avoid high heels and unstable shoes in favor of sensible flats and low-heel footwear.

For more information, check in with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AED Information

East Jefferson Fire Rescue receives frequent inquiries with respect to public access defibrillators. Scroll down for information on AED acquisition and legal information. Also listed here are three representatives for a variety of products that are on the market. We do not recommend one product over another, but provide this information as a starting point for your organization.

  • -Medtronic: Tom Winstel: 253-651-7695 mobile, tom.winstel@medtronic.com
  • -Cardiac Science Company: Jeffery Hoyt, 888-274-3342
  • -Phillips Company, Enerspct Medical Solutions: Jennifer Voytko, 888-522-5574

Below is RCW 70.54.310 which explains your legal rights and obligations if your organization or business acquires a public access AED.

RCW 70.54.310 Semiautomatic external defibrillator — Duty of acquirer — Immunity from civil liability.

(1) As used in this section, “defibrillator” means a semiautomatic external defibrillator as prescribed by a physician licensed under chapter 18.71RCW or an osteopath licensed under chapter 18.57RCW.

(2) A person or entity who acquires a defibrillator shall ensure that:

(a) Expected defibrillator users receive reasonable instruction in defibrillator use and cardiopulmonary resuscitation by a course approved by the department of health;

(b) The defibrillator is maintained and tested by the acquirer according to the manufacturer’s operational guidelines;

(c) Upon acquiring a defibrillator, medical direction is enlisted by the acquirer from a licensed physician in the use of the defibrillator and cardiopulmonary resuscitation;

(d) The person or entity who acquires a defibrillator shall notify the local emergency medical services organization about the existence and the location of the defibrillator; and

(e) The defibrillator user shall call 911 or its local equivalent as soon as possible after the emergency use of the defibrillator and shall assure that appropriate follow-up data is made available as requested by emergency medical service or other health care providers.

(3) A person who uses a defibrillator at the scene of an emergency and all other persons and entities providing services under this section are immune from civil liability for any personal injury that results from any act or omission in the use of the defibrillator in an emergency setting.

(4) The immunity from civil liability does not apply if the acts or omissions amount to gross negligence or willful or wanton misconduct.

(5) The requirements of subsection (2) of this section shall not apply to any individual using a defibrillator in an emergency setting if that individual is acting as a good Samaritan under RCW 4.24.300.

[1998 c 150 § 1.]

AED Authorization

To have a public access AED you need to inform our area medical director with a letter similar to the one shown below. (Print on agency letterhead.)



Location of AED:
Location phone:
Authorizing Physician:

Authorizing Physician Signature Date:

Mandatory Reporting

Fire district and RFA employees and volunteers are mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse. Under this legislation we are required to post on our website a downloadable and printable poster in Spanish and English that identifies who mandatory reporters are and the standards that govern reporting.

Household Safety

Fire Extinguishers

A portable fire extinguisher can save lives and property by putting out a small fire or containing it until the fire department arrives; but portable extinguishers have limitations. Because fire grows and spreads so rapidly, the number one priority for residents is to get out safely.

Safety tips:

Use a portable fire extinguisher when the fire is confined to a small area, such as a wastebasket, and is not growing; everyone has exited the building; the fire department has been called or is being called; and the room is not filled with smoke.

To operate a fire extinguisher, remember the word PASS:

Pull the pin. Hold the extinguisher with the nozzle pointing away from you, and release the locking mechanism.
Aim low. Point the extinguisher at the base of the fire.
Squeeze the lever slowly and evenly.
Sweep the nozzle from side-to-side.

For the home, select a multi-purpose extinguisher (can be used on all types of home fires) that is large enough to put out a small fire, but not so heavy as to be difficult to handle. Extinguishers labeled “ABC” work for the majority of fires occurring in homes.

Choose a fire extinguisher that carries the label of an independent testing laboratory.

Read the instructions that come with the fire extinguisher and become familiar with its parts and operation before a fire breaks out. 

Install fire extinguishers close to an exit and keep your back to a clear exit when you use the device so you can make an easy escape. If the room fills with smoke, leave immediately.

Know when to go. Fire extinguishers are one element of a fire response plan, but the primary element is safe escape. Every household should have a home fire escape plan and working smoke alarms.

EJFR offers free fire extinguisher training.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Although the popularity of carbon monoxide (CO) alarms has been growing in recent years, it cannot be assumed that everyone is familiar with the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Often called the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil, and methane) burn incompletely. At home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Vehicles or generators running in an attached garage can also produce dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.

The dangers of CO exposure depend on a number of variables, including the victim’s health and activity level. Infants, pregnant women, and people with physical conditions that limit their body’s ability to use oxygen (i.e. emphysema, asthma, heart disease) can be more severely affected by lower concentrations of CO than healthy adults would be.

A person can be poisoned by a small amount of CO over a longer period of time or by a large amount of CO over a shorter amount of time.

This information was gathered from the NFPA.

Home Fire Sprinklers

Properly installed and maintained automatic fire sprinkler systems help save lives.

Because fire sprinkler systems react so quickly, they can dramatically reduce the heat, flames, and smoke produced in a fire. Fire sprinklers have been around for more than a century, protecting commercial and industrial properties and public buildings. What many people don’t realize is that the same life-saving technology is also available for homes, where roughly 85% of all civilian fire deaths occur.

Automatic sprinklers are highly effective and reliable elements of total system designs for fire protection in buildings.  

Home Fire Sprinkler Statistics

Home fire sprinklers can control and may even extinguish a fire in less time than it would take the fire department to arrive on the scene.

Only the sprinkler closest to the fire will activate, spraying water directly on the fire. In 84% of home fires where the sprinklers operate, just one sprinkler operates.

If you have a fire in your home, the risk of dying is cut by about one-third when smoke alarms are present (or about half if the smoke alarms are working), while automatic fire sprinkler systems cut the risk of dying by about 80%.

In a home with sprinklers, the average property loss per fire is cut by about 70% (compared to fires where sprinklers are not present.)

The cost of installing home fire sprinklers averages $1.35 per sprinklered square foot.

Source: U.S. Experience with Sprinklers

Change Your Clocks / Check Your Batteries

It’s statistically proven that working smoke detectors help save lives. However, the best smoke detector is worthless if the batteries in it are old or have been removed. Please take a moment to check and if necessary, replace the batteries in your smoke detector.

Test the smoke alarm by pushing the test button. Newly released guidance states that you should periodically dust or vacuum your smoke detectors. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning.

When purchasing a smoke detector, choose one that has the label of a recognized laboratory. Be sure to position smoke alarms away from the kitchen to prevent false alarms. Generally, they should not be closer than 10 feet from a cooking appliance.

Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries.

Here’s what you need to know!

  • Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
  • Test your smoke alarms every month.
  • When a smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside.
  • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

More about staying safe with smoke alarms.

Bicycle Helmet Safety

“Use your head, wear a helmet.” It is the single most effective safety device available to reduce head injury and death from bicycle crashes. More children ages 5 to 14 are seen in emergency rooms for injuries related to biking than any other sport. Helmets can reduce the risk of severe brain injuries by 88 percent.

Tell your kids to ride on the right side of the road, with traffic, not against it. Stay as far to the right as possible. Use appropriate hand signals and respect traffic signals, stopping at all stop signs and stoplights.

Teach your kids to make eye contact with drivers. Bikers should make sure drivers are paying attention and are going to stop before they cross the street.

When riding at dusk, dawn or in the evening, be bright and use lights – and make sure your bike has reflectors. It’s also smart to wear clothes and accessories that have retro-reflective materials to improve biker visibility.

Earthquake Safety

Learning How to Survive Earthquakes – Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold!

Protect Yourself During An Earthquake

  • If you’re in a HIGH-RISE BUILDING, and you are not near a desk or table, move against an interior wall, and protect your head with your arms. Do not use the elevators.
  • If you’re OUTDOORS, move to a clear area, away from trees, signs, buildings, or downed electrical wires and poles.
  • If you’re on a SIDEWALK NEAR BUILDINGS, duck into a doorway to protect yourself from falling bricks, glass, plaster, and other debris.
  • If you’re DRIVING, pull over to the side of the road and stop. Avoid overpasses, power lines, and other hazards. Stay inside the vehicle until the shaking is over.
  • If you’re in a CROWDED STORE, do not rush for exits. Move away from display shelves containing objects that could fall.
  • If you’re in a WHEELCHAIR, stay in it. Move to cover, if possible, lock your wheels, and protect your head with your arms.
  • If you’re in the KITCHEN, move away from the refrigerator, stove, and overhead cupboards.
  • If you’re in a STADIUM or THEATER, stay in your seat and protect your head with your arms. Do not try to leave until the shaking is over. Then leave in a calm, orderly manner.
  • Be prepared for AFTERSHOCKS, and plan where you will take cover when they occur. Aftershocks can occur in the first hours, days, weeks, or even months after the quake. Be prepared to take cover.

Full list of Earthquake preparation and safety tips available for download.

Tsunami Safety Information

Tsunami Safety

Port Townsend Tsunami Evacuation Route Map

Port Townsend Inundation Map (Department of Natural Resources)

Point Hudson “All Hazards Alert Broadcast” (AHAB) unit is one of three AHAB tsunami “sirens” in the Port Townsend area. The first AHAB in Washington State was installed at the Port Townsend Marina in 2003. A unit similar to the Point Hudson siren is located on the beach near the campground at Fort Worden. AHABs can be activated by satellite from the State Emergency Operations Center or by radio from the Jefferson County EOC. There are currently 45 AHAB installations in Washington State.

Emergency Supply List

Build a Kit

A disaster supplies kit is simply a collection of basic items your household may need in the event of an emergency.

Try to assemble your kit well in advance of an emergency. You may have to evacuate at a moment’s notice and take essentials with you. You will probably not have time to search for the supplies you need or shop for them.

You may need to survive on your own after an emergency. This means having your own food, water and other supplies in sufficient quantity to last for at least 72 hours. Local officials and relief workers will be on the scene after a disaster but they cannot reach everyone immediately. You could get help in hours or it might take days. The Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management recommends that everyone prepare to be on their own at home for up to 30 days.

Additionally, basic services such as electricity, gas, water, sewage treatment and telephones may be cut off for days or even a week, or longer. Your supply kit should contain items to help you manage during these outages.

Recommended Supplies to Include in a Basic Kit:

Below, you’ll find a sample emergency supply list from Ready.gov. Please note that this is only a sample list. It’s important for you to go over it carefully and modify it to fit your family’s needs.

Water, food, and clean air are important things to have if an emergency happens. Each family or individual’s kit should be customized to meet specific needs, such as medications and infant formula. It should also be customized to include important family documents.

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert, and extra batteries
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First Aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Infant formula and diapers, if you have an infant
  • Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Dust mask or cotton t-shirt, to help filter the air
  • Plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Can opener for food (if kit contains canned food)
  • Clothing and Bedding: If you live in a cold weather climate, you must think about warmth. It is possible that the power will be out and you will not have heat. Rethink your clothing and bedding supplies to account for growing children and other family changes. One complete change of warm clothing and shoes per person, including:
  • A jacket or coat
  • Long pants
  • A long sleeve shirt
  • Sturdy shoes
  • A hat and gloves
  • A sleeping bag or warm blanket for each person

Below are some optional items for your family to consider adding to its supply kit. Some of these items, especially those marked with a * can be dangerous, so please have an adult collect these supplies:

  • Emergency reference materials such as a first aid book or a print out of the information on www.ready.gov
  • Rain gear
  • Mess kits, paper cups, plates and plastic utensils
  • Cash or traveler’s checks, change
  • Paper towels
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Tent
  • Compass
  • Matches in a waterproof container*
  • Signal flare*
  • Paper, pencil
  • Personal hygiene items including feminine supplies
  • Disinfectant*
  • Household chlorine bleach* : You can use bleach as a disinfectant (dilute nine parts water to one part bleach), or in an emergency you can also use it to treat water. Use 16 drops of regular household liquid bleach per gallon of water. Do not use scented, color safe or bleaches with added cleaners.
  • Medicine dropper
  • Important Family Documents such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records in a waterproof, portable container

CDC Resources

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) website has a wealth of valuable information about preparedness for natural disasters and severe weather. Not all disasters are alike and the geography of your region has a great deal to do with the most likely local disasters.

Below you will find links to CDC information for a variety of disasters and severe weather:

Earthquakes Winter weather Wildfires Floods
Landslides and mudslides Tsunamis Volcanoes  

Seasonal Safety

Winter and Holiday Fire Safety Tips

Our cooling weather brings with it a reminder that winter months are the most dangerous for fires and injuries. Please play it safe by taking time to review the following home safety tips:

Carbon Monoxide

When using home heating appliances, be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide (CO), often called “the silent killer,” is an invisible, odorless, colorless gas created when fuels (such as kerosene, gasoline, wood, coal, natural gas, propane, oil and methane) burn incompletely. It can result from faulty furnaces or other heating appliances, portable generators, water heaters, clothes dryers, or cars left running in garages.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning may include headache, nausea and drowsiness. Extremely high levels of poisoning can be fatal, causing death within minutes.

It’s recommended that you install and maintain CO alarms inside your home.

To reduce the risk of carbon monoxide, have your fuel-burning heating equipment (fireplaces, furnaces, water heaters, wood stoves, coal stoves, space heaters and portable heaters, as well as chimneys inspected by a professional every year. Also, be sure to open the damper for proper ventilation before using a fireplace. Never use your oven or stovetop to heat your home.

During and after a snowstorm, make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow build-up.

Portable Generators

Bad weather can bring with it intermittent power outages. For those of you with portable generators, use them outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from all doors, windows, vents and other building openings to prevent exhaust fumes from entering the home.

The following information, developed by the American Red Cross with technical advice from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Fire Protection Association(publisher of the National Electric Code®) and the U. S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, is provided to address questions about using a generator when disaster or emergency strikes.

How to Buy a Generator

If you choose to buy a generator, make sure you get one that is rated for the amount of power that you think you will need. Look at the labels on lighting, appliances, and equipment you plan to connect to the generator to determine the amount of power that will be needed to operate the equipment.

For lighting, the wattage of the light bulb indicates the power needed. Appliances and equipment usually have labels indicating power requirements on them. Choose a generator that produces more power than will be drawn by the combination of lighting, appliances, and equipment you plan to connect to the generator including the initial surge when it is turned on. If your generator does not produce adequate power for all your needs, plan to stagger the operating times for various equipment.

If you can not determine the amount of power that will be needed, ask an electrician to determine that for you. (If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, then you may blow a fuse on the generator or damage the connected equipment.)

How to Use a Generator at Home

The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire. Follow the directions supplied with the generator. Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.

Never Use a Portable Generator Indoors! This includes inside a garage, carport, basement, crawlspace, or other enclosed or partially-enclosed area, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. The CO from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death, but CO can’t be seen or smelled. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY – DO NOT DELAY.

Because you may have windows open to get fresh air while the power is out, be sure to place the generator away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors. To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. To protect the generator from moisture, operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.

It is a good idea to install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home, according to the manufacturer’s installation instructions. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.

Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

Store fuel for the generator in an approved safety can. Use the type of fuel recommended in the instructions or on the label on the generator. Local laws may restrict the amount of fuel you may store, or the storage location. Ask your local fire department for additional information about local regulations. Store the fuel outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Do not store it near a fuel-burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage. If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

Plug appliances directly into the generator. Or, use a heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.

Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.” This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices.

Future Generator Safety Considerations

The only recommended method to connect a generator to house wiring is by having a qualified electrician install a power transfer switch. This switch must be installed in accordance with the National Electrical Code® (NEC), which is published by the National Fire Protection Association, as well as all applicable state and local electrical codes. Call a qualified electrician or check with your utility company to see if they can install the appropriate equipment.

For power outages, permanently installed stationary generators are better suited for providing backup power to the home. Even a properly connected portable generator can become overloaded. This may result in overheating or stressing the generator components, possibly leading to a generator failure. Be sure to read instructions that come with the generator to make sure you operate it within its limitations for power output.

Fireplaces and Chimneys

For wood-burning fireplaces, have a sturdy metal screen in front. Burn only dry, seasoned wood. Not only is it cleaner for the environment, it also creates less buildup in the chimney.

Use artificial logs according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. Never burn more than one log at a time. Use only newspaper and kindling wood or fire starters to start a fire. Never use flammable liquids, such as lighter fluid, kerosene or gasoline to start a fire.

Chimneys and vents need to be cleaned and inspected at least once a year.

Local Chimney Cleaning Services*

  • A+ Services: 360.620.9990
  • Fire Pro: 360.452.1153

*EJFR does not endorse or recommend any of the above services over another. We have confirmed that the above options service our District.

Don’t forget that underrated element—common sense. If it seems risky or dangerous, it probably is. Be careful and have a happy and safe winter.

Grilling Safety Tips

Fire in the grill, under hot dogs and burgers, is a welcome sight at the family cookout. But fire anywhere else can make your summer kick-off barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons.

  • Propane and charcoal BBQ grills should only be used outdoors.
  • The grill should be placed well away from the home, deck railings and out from under eaves and overhanging branches.
  • Keep children and pets away from the grill area.
  • Keep your grill clean by removing grease or fat buildup from the grills and in trays below the grill.
  • Never leave your grill unattended.

Charcoal grills

  • There are several ways to get the charcoal ready to use. Charcoal chimney starters allow you to start the charcoal using newspaper as a fuel.
  • If you use a starter fluid, use only charcoal starter fluid. Never add charcoal fluid or any other flammable liquids to the fire.
  • Keep charcoal fluid out of the reach of children and away from heat sources.
  • There are also electric charcoal starters, which do not use fire. Be sure to use an extension cord for outdoor use.
  • When you are finished grilling, let the coals completely cool before disposing in a metal container.

Propane grills

Check the gas tank hose for leaks before using it for the first time each year. Apply a light soap and water solution to the hose. A propane leak will release bubbles. If your grill has a gas leak, by smell or the soapy bubble test, and there is no flame, turn off the gas tank and grill. If the leak stops, get the grill serviced by a professional before using it again. If the leak does not stop, call the fire department. If you smell gas while cooking, immediately get away from the grill and call the fire department. Do not move the grill.

More grilling safety tips from the NFPA.

Independence Day (4th of July) Safety

Fireworks Safety Tips

Using consumer fireworks on our nation’s birthday is as traditional as cookouts and parades. However, Independence Day celebrations also bring fires and injuries due to misuse of fireworks.

East Jefferson Fire Rescue, along with the Office of the State Fire Marshal and local law enforcement agencies urges Jefferson County residents and visitors to use caution when purchasing and using fireworks outside Port Townsend city limits. Use of fireworks within Port Townsend city limits is banned. Possession or discharge of any fireworks is illegal within city limits.

Washington State Legal Consumer Fireworks

Legal fireworks suitable for use in unrestricted areas of Jefferson County include the following: cylindrical fountains, helicopters and aerial spinners, cone fountains, smoke devices, Roman candles, parachutes, wheels, mine/shells/cakes, ground spinners, reloadable mortars, dipped sticks/sparklers and novelties.

Federally Legal Consumer Fireworks

These items are legal to purchase, possess and discharge only on a Native American Reservation. Possession and/or use off the reservation is illegal: firecrackers (generally ¼” x 1-1/2” or less), sky rockets and missiles and bottle rockets.

Illegal Explosive Devices

The possession, manufacturing or use of illegal explosive devices is a criminal offense. These include, but are not limited to: M-80s and M-100s, Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) which include pipe bombs and tennis ball bombs, and altered fireworks such as sparklers bound tightly together to create an explosion.

The National Council on Fireworks Safety recommends that you only buy consumer fireworks from a licensed store, tent or stand. Never buy fireworks from an individual’s house or from someone on the street. Such devices are likely to be illegal explosives or professional 1.3G fireworks that can seriously injure you.

RCW 70.77 states that the ignition of fireworks is allowable between the following dates and times:

June 28: Between noon and 11 p.m.
June 29 – July 3: Between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.
July 4: Between 9 a.m. and 12 a.m.
July 5: Between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m.

Please use care in the purchase and discharge of fireworks. Do not light them indoors or near dry grass. Always have a bucket of water and/or fire extinguisher nearby. Wear snug clothing while using fireworks. If a device fails to go off properly, do not stand over it to investigate it or try to relight it. Wait at least 15 minutes before placing it in a bucket of water.

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

Emergency Response Teams

Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT)

The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members are also encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community. For more information about CERT, visit FEMA.gov.

For more information about local opportunities:

Paula Towne (State of WA CERT Program Coordinator)

(360) 725-5290  paula.towne@ofm.wa.gov


Willie Bence (Director of Jefferson County Emergency Management)

(360) 316-6008  wbence@co.jefferson.wa.us

Student Emergency Response Team Training

Teen CERT members learn readiness and response skills to better identify hazards in their area, help others in the event of a disaster and become leaders in their school.

For more information, go to FEMA’s Teen CERT Program and resources page.

Jefferson County Emergency Operations Center

Established in 1988, the Jefferson County Department of Emergency Management (DEM) coordinates available resources to be mobilized in times of disaster, develops plans and procedures in response to and recovery from disasters and educates the public and business community about preparedness. Mutual Aid agreements are in place with local agencies which provides for additional resource sharing should the need arise. The DEM is equipped with electronic features well-suited to a rural county geographically isolated from the large metropolitan areas of Seattle and Tacoma.

Through a grant from the Department of Homeland Security, Jefferson County has an excellent redundant system for communication, backed up with generators in case of power failures as well as alternate communications in the event of phone outages. Amateur radio operators are set up with local American Radio Emergency System/Radio Amateur Civil Engineering System, (ARES/RACES) volunteers to communicate with over 100 members of the Neighborhood Preparedness groups.

The EOC is fully operational with a compliment of paid and volunteer staff trained to implement the Incident Command System (ICS). This system is best described as a management system of procedures for controlling personnel, facilities, equipment and communications from different agencies to work together towards a common goal in an effective and efficient manner. It is an “all hazards – all risk” approach to managing crisis response operations for emergencies of all sizes, as well as non-crisis events.

During a disaster, the EOC acts as the hub of the wheel comprised of the many and varied communities within Jefferson County. The EOC, in conjunction with local agencies as well as state and federal agencies, coordinates the recovery efforts for the impacted areas.

Considering the geography, geology and demographics of Jefferson County together with the frequency of winter storms that leave residents without electricity and other necessities, it is important that every individual and household prepare in advance for any eventuality.

Having supplies that include enough water, food, first aid supplies, to meet the particular needs of each family member for up to 30 days should be the goal for all residents. Buying one or two extra items every time you go to the grocery store is a good way to becoming well prepared. Two for the price of one items and coupons will help defray the costs.

Additional supplies should include flashlights, extra batteries, non-electric can opener, battery operated radio, toilet paper, and liquid soap. A complete list of appropriate items to include in a go-kit or emergency pantry can be found in the Jefferson County Emergency Management’s THINK, PLAN, DO, REPEAT book available at  bit.ly/thinkplando.


The EOC Section Chiefs and Command Staff meet weekly to fine tune their coordinated efforts to run a smooth operation if and when they are called into action.

Individuals or groups who want to develop preparedness tactics for their specific neighborhoods should call (360) 385-9368 for materials and details.