Portland prides itself as a “green city,” of so it’s no surprise that it’s known as “America’s biking capitol.” Portland’s enthusiasm for biking goes beyond just helping the environment, however. It also helps the city prepare for emergencies.
Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) initiative is a unique effort designed to employ the use of bicycles to carry cargo in case of a disaster to maneuver people and supplies to safety without worrying about gasoline, flooding or other unpredictable conditions. Our team, FEMA Corps Blue 5, had the opportunity to witness this when we supported the event on Saturday, July 12.
Every community is unique – even when it comes to being prepared. That’s why as part of our effort to support the Disaster Relief Trials we spent time researching and understanding the types of tools and information we needed to help make this event a success. As part of this process, we familiarized ourselves with Portland’s culture and residents.
Armed with this understanding, our team brought items to prepare an activity that would contribute to their already extensive knowledge of disaster preparedness. We also worked to create flyers on varying topics, including knowing what to do when an earthquake strikes, seismic retrofitting, and preparing pets for emergencies. We also brought a large seismic hazards map to help us visually demonstrate how the shaking severity of an earthquake differs depending on where you live.
We also brought wheel spokes cards that bikers could weave into the spokes of their bikes. These cards contained information on what to do if someone finds themselves outside when an earthquake strikes, along with useful websites in the case of a disaster.
For three years in a row, Portland’s Disaster Relief Trials have not only helped protect the environment by advocating bicycle use, but has also helped citizens prepare for the worst. Forging this relationship with Portland’s biking community has been an invaluable way to strengthen our partnership with the city of Portland. Emergency management is a team effort, and we’re proud to have had an opportunity to support the Disaster Relief Trials and make Portland safer and stronger.