SALEM, Ore. -- No one knows better than Oregonians disasters can strike at any time. Floods, straight-line winds, landslides, mudflow, torrential rains and snow can hit all areas of the Beaver State, together or separately. Many geologists predict climate change may cause any or all of these problems to increase.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) encourage all residents of Oregon to prepare, plan and stay informed of the many hazards facing them. From natural to manmade disasters, the impact can be lessened with prior planning.
"Emergency preparedness is everyone's responsibility," said Abby Kershaw, state coordinating officer for the recovery efforts following the severe storms, flooding, landslides and mudslides that hit the state from Dec. 1-17. "Knowing what to do during an emergency is an important part of being prepared and can make all the difference when seconds count. Everyone should plan to shelter in place for at least three days as it may take several days before normal services can be restored," Kershaw said.
"Your family may not be together when disaster strikes, so it is important to plan and practice in advance," said Federal Coordinating Officer Glen R. Sachtleben. "You will be better prepared to safely reunite your family if you plan how you will contact one another, how you will get back together and what you will do in different situations. Making a plan, creating an emergency kit and staying informed are the hallmarks of preparation. Make readiness a priority for 2008."
Follow three simple steps to be prepared:
- Prepare an emergency supply kit;
- Make a family emergency plan and be informed about the kinds of emergencies that can happen in your area and their appropriate responses.
- Remember the basics of survival: fresh water, food, clean air and warmth.
A basic emergency kit should have the following:
- Water: one gallon per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation;
- Food, at least a three-day supply, non-perishable;
- Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both;
- Flashlight and extra batteries;
- First-aid kit;
- Whistle or other noise making device to signal for help;
- Dust mask, to help filter contaminated air; plastic sheeting and duct tape to shelter-in-place;
- Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation;
- Wrench or pliers, to turn off utilities;
- Can opener for food;
- Local maps, in case of road closures;
- Family specific items: medications, infant food and diapers, pet food, change of clothing for each member, books, games, hygiene items, paper and pencil;
- Important family documents, such as copies of insurance policies, identification and bank account records, and a list of doctor's, relative's or friend's phone numbers to contact in an emergency in a waterproof, portable container;
- Matches in a waterproof container;
- Household bleach (not colored or scented) can be used as a disinfectant. Or, in an emergency, can be used to treat water;
- Fire Extinguisher.
For winter storms:
- Rock salt, to melt ice;
- Sand, to improve traction;
- Shovels and other snow removal equipment;
- Warm blankets and adequate clothing, to keep warm.
For information and tools related to emergency preparedness, including persons with disabilities, many online resources are available.