Emergency Preparedness Part 1: Seriously? Yes.
Say hello to Jennifer, a newcomer to Oregon, who will be sharing her experiences in getting ready for emergencies. Here’s Part 1:
Until 15 months ago, my husband and I lived in the Midwest. We were used to dealing with inclement weather, and we made minimal preparations for dealing with severe storms. We had a weather radio; we put boots, blankets, and food in the car for winter travel; and we knew where to take shelter from tornadoes. If I suggested additional measures (“Maybe we should stock up on canned goods?”), my husband gave me that look. “Seriously?” he said. “We’ll be fine.”
We never had to deal with anything serious, so we didn’t seriously prepare for anything.
Then we moved to Oregon—land of forest fires, floods, earthquakes, and tsunamis. Unlike Midwest storms, these natural disasters can occur without warning and cause long-term disruption. So can other disasters, such as flu pandemics and acts of terrorism. And thanks to prominent media coverage of a likely major subduction zone earthquake in the Pacific Northwest, my husband now agrees that our current “emergency supplies” aren’t sufficient.
We have some bottled water and a flashlight shoved in the front closet along with coats, shoes, tools, and the vacuum. I’m not sure how much water two people actually need, and I’m pretty sure we don’t have extra batteries.
We have a weather radio, but it won’t do any good unless we add batteries and plug it in.
We have one first aid kit under the kitchen sink, but we probably need another for the car.
I know we should gather additional supplies and make a household disaster plan, but in the rush of daily life, it’s easy to push these tasks to the bottom of my to-do list. Fortunately, an invitation to write for this blog provided the motivation I needed to get serious about household disaster planning. Now, I need specific information, and maybe a how-to guide.
The OSU Extension Catalog has an entire section on emergency response. The publications on “Preparing your family for emergencies” and “Family emergency preparedness kit” look like a good starting point.
I also plan to review OSU Extension’s Emergency Information webpage, which lists a variety of websites, documents, and other resources. “When disaster hits: What you can do to recover and prepare” looks particularly helpful, and it also includes links to information from the Red Cross, FEMA, and the Extension Disaster Education Network (EDEN).
It looks like I’ll need to spend some time reading and navigating these websites to figure out what supplies and types of plans are appropriate for my family. I’ll share my progress here, on the Smith & Lever blog.
I’m also interested in hearing from you. Does your family or workplace have a disaster plan? What emergency preparedness resources have you found helpful? Let me know in the comments.