Duck, cover and be prepared: September is National Preparedness Month

From a climate perspective, Oregon is a potential haven. Some have speculated that as climate impacts become more pronounced, Oregon will be home to a growing number of “climate refugees” because of how amenable our climate is a warming world, compared to other parts of the globe. The realities of climate change are just one of many great reasons to live in Oregon. But if you’re like many other Oregonians, you read the New Yorker article about “the really big one” and may now be asking if Oregon is really the bees knees after all.

But here’s the simple truth: there are advantages and disadvantages to any place. The best thing to do is know the risks and be prepared — all while living each day to the fullest. Fear will sometimes make us avert our attention from things that seem overwhelmingly scary (like the big one.) But if we can work to be prepared, that can help alleviate fear, increase preparedness and create a sense of empowerment. And since September is National Preparedness Month, OEC is doing its part to increase preparedness, both as a staff and as individuals. We’ve looked into it, and while we won’t be changing our name to Oregon Environmental & Disaster Preparedness Council anytime soon, we have learned a few things we wanted to share:

  • There are experts who will teach you and your company about earthquake preparedness: Some of our staff was lucky enough to attend a preparedness training at local favorite, Mother’s Bistro, taught by Susan Laarman. Susan lived through the San Francisco earthquake of 1989 and has been teaching earthquake preparedness ever since, with a focus on food, water and sanitation. We asked her to help OEC staff develop our personal preparedness plans, and found her expertise very helpful. Check out her Facebook page for helpful preparedness tips, Life on a Fault Line.
  • You don’t have to develop an emergency supply list from scratch: Susan has developed an extremely helpful “knapsack provisions” checklist, a starter list of things to help you build out your personal emergency supply.
  • There are also guides to help you develop a family emergency plan: Check out this helpful checklist from FEMA to help you and your family develop an emergency plan. Your family may not be together is a disaster hits, making it important to know your plan of action ahead of time.
  • You can help your kid’s school be more prepared, too: The EPA offers a list of suggested activities to help you prepare your child’s school for an emergency. You can preview check-lists based on emergency type here.
  • FEMA has specific information on how to prepare for an earthquake: The guide can be downloaded here; this guide has specifics on how to prepare yourself and your property.
  • Know your BEECN: A BEECN is a place to go in Portland after a major earthquake to ask for emergency assistance if phone service is down, or report severe damage or injury. Find the BEECN nearest to where you work or live by clicking here.

Have additional preparedness tips? Add your comments here. Because while we can’t solve all the problems of the world, by golly, we can tackle a few!

— Devon Downeysmith, Climate Communications & Outreach Manager

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