September is National Preparedness Month, a time to raise awareness about preparing for disasters and emergencies before they happen.
Here in Oregon, the impacts of a changing climate, 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.
Oregon's National Preparedness Month 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. 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 practical low-cost and no-cost actions Oregonians can take today to be ready for tomorrow, including:
- Sign up or update your contact information for local emergency alerts.
- Enable Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on cell phones.
- Make and practice an emergency plan that outlines what to do before, during and after an emergency. Talk with your support network about the plan.
Pack an emergency kit with two weeks' worth of food, water, supplies and necessities like medications, copies of important documents and phone chargers. You probably already have many necessary items for an emergency kit in your home. Start small and work toward the two-week goal.
- Check with neighbors and loved ones before and during severe weather, utility outages, or other emergencies.
- Understand Oregon's evacuation levels and review community evacuation routes.
- Help start or join an existing Community Emergency Response Team.
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 person that is prepared, that's one less person first responders need to assist, saving precious time and allowing them to prioritize life-threatening situations and vulnerable people. Doing your part to prepare yourself and your loved ones truly helps to save the lives of others.
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 disaster.
Knowing disasters disproportionately affect marginalized communities, we offer 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.
You may be more prepared than you think. Start integrating a culture of preparedness into your daily lifestyle today!