People in Oregon continue to feel the impacts of a changing climate, through larger wildfires, hotter days, intense storms and worsening drought conditions. These recurring events, coupled with the ever-present threat of a 9.0+ magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and a resulting tsunami, emphasize the urgent need for everyone in the state to be prepared. September is National Preparedness Month, and the state’s theme – Plan Today. Ready Tomorrow. – urges everyone to take active steps to plan and prepare today to be ready for future emergencies and disasters.
“Every Oregonian can be ready for emergencies, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or happen all at once,” said Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) Director Andrew Phelps. “I know it can feel overwhelming, but it’s about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have, to keep yourself and your family safe.”
Being ready means having an emergency plan, staying informed and aware of risks, and knowing how to get information during an emergency. There are many effective low-cost and no-cost actions Oregonians can take today to be ready for tomorrow, including signing up or updating contact information for local emergency alerts, reviewing community evacuation routes, enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones, making copies of important documents, watching preparedness videos, learning how to perform first-aid, and getting to know neighbors and community resources.
“A big part of OEM’s mission is to empower Oregonians to be as prepared as possible in an emergency,” said Phelps. “A disaster can happen anywhere at any time, and once it occurs, it may take days or even weeks for responders to reach everyone impacted. For every one person that’s prepared, that’s one less person first responders need to assist, saving precious time and allowing them to prioritize life-threatening situations and our most vulnerable people. Doing our part to ready ourselves and our loved ones truly helps save the lives of others.”
OEM suggests people with disabilities and their caregivers consider individual circumstances and specific needs when planning for emergencies and create a support network of people who can help during a disaster. Part of being ready involves neighbors helping neighbors. People should talk to others in their community to determine who has what supplies and who might need extra help in an emergency.
OEM’s “2 Weeks Ready” program recommends Oregonians have an emergency plan and enough food, water and supplies to survive for at least two weeks following any large-scale emergency. Knowing disasters disproportionately affect marginalized communities, the department offers several downloadable equitable and accessible readiness resources to help inform all Oregonians of their risks and ways to help one another prepare. People are encouraged to contact their county emergency management office to request printed copies.
OEM is partnering with Governor Brown’s Office – which has proclaimed September as National Preparedness Month in Oregon – and fellow state agencies and key partners to message National Preparedness Month throughout September. The agency is also teaming up with the American Red Cross Cascades Region to promote its Emergency: Alerts app. Learn more at OEM’s website and social media platforms.
Source: Oregon Emergency Management