5 sure-fire alternatives to potassium iodide tablets

Damage from the 2001 Nisqually quake at the Cadillac Hotel in downtown Seattle. (Via Seattle Municipal Archives on Flickr)

The videos coming in after the 9.0 earthquake in Japan last Friday have been difficult to watch. Entire villages have been washed away, family members are missing, and the survivors are left with little, if any, food and water until relief supplies arrive.

Now there are reports of radiation leaks from a crippled nuclear power plant on Japan’s northeast coast. Many people in the Pacific Northwest worry that the radiation could reach our shores and have started to stock up on potassium iodide tablets in case of exposure.

Cliff Mass, professor of Atmospheric Sciences at the UW, explained today on his blog why we’re not at risk from any radiation and shortly thereafter, the King County Department of Health issued a release stating that the nuclear plant problem poses no risk to our citizens.

If that’s not enough to put your mind at ease, then we’ll just try to distract you.

Here are five things you can do TODAY instead of purchasing potassium iodide tablets:

  1. Donate to the Red Cross relief efforts. It takes less than 1 minute. Promise. You can do it online at the Red Cross website or text REDCROSS to 90999.
  2. Make a plan. We live in earthquake country, people. Do you know what to do when disaster strikes? We know you’ve been meaning to do it, so get off your tookus, grab the family, make a plan, and get those 3-day supplies in place.
  3. Coordinate with your neighbors. Block watches aren’t just for preventing crime, they’re also very handy in case of emergency. Download Organizing a Block Watch (PDF, 78KB) from the SPD for more info.
  4. Buy an Emergency Preparedness Kit. The Red Cross sells them, or you can put together your own. The King County 3 Days, 3 Ways website is a great place to start and we’ve included even more resources below.
  5. Participate in an emergency preparedness event. On April 16, the Green Lake Community Council’s Emergency Preparedness Committee will be staging an event at Green Lake Park. They’ll activate the Green Lake Emergency Hub near the basketball courts on the south side of the community center. Learn how you can get involved.

Have other ideas? Add them to the comments.

  • http://twitter.com/officewhore Jym

    Don’t use bleach or cleaning tablets in your toilet tank. Use the in bowl ones if you need to. That tank holds more than a gallon of potable water.

    Have gas lines coming into your house? Know where they are and have a cheap wrench near by so you can turn it off yourself.

  • http://twitter.com/officewhore Jym

    Also, if you’re getting KI for yourself, “the World Health Organization recommends that nuclear fallout KI prophylaxis is not recommended for adults over 40 years, unless inhaled radiation dose levels are expected to threaten thyroid function; because, the KI side effects increases with age and may exceed the KI protective effects.”