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A trip through stores in Anacortes and Mount Vernon this past weekend indicated that disaster preparedness was on the mind of area residents.

Some shelves were especially light on certain goods, such as hand sanitizer, disinfectants, pasta, toilet paper and over-the-counter medications.

That’s a good thing.

While some may think that panic over the spread of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) could be an overreaction, it’s never a bad idea to keep at least a couple weeks of nonperishable supplies on hand for any emergency.

Consider it a civic duty.

Fidalgo Island, as peaceful and lovely as it is, is susceptible to such disasters as earthquake, volcanic eruption and tsunami. Any of those could leave residents without power, isolated from the mainland and left to fend for themselves for an undetermined amount of time.

For those who panic when the electricity is out for a few hours, trust that power outages would be the least of our worries.

In some ways, the threat that a virus could roll in like a storm offers some distinct advantages. There is some time to prepare.

Whether this virus is more or less deadly than the varied strains of influenza we face each year remains to be seen. Even if it fizzled to nothing tomorrow, the fact would remain that we all need to take some personal responsibility in getting ready for a disaster.

If COVID-19 isn’t it, we can count ourselves lucky. But new viruses come along more often than most realize. Natural disasters from floods to tornados to fires happen somewhere on a regular basis.

It’s a beautiful, but tough world we live in.

Everyone needs to do their part to be as ready as possible.

It’s hard to quickly imagine a full list of what you or your family might need during a disaster, but luckily, the City of Anacortes and Skagit County keep lists of supplies suggested for such emergencies on their websites.

Learn more about local emergency preparedness advice on the city website, at

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