Tag Archives: disaster

Emergency Preparedness: Oregon now Says 2 Weeks, not 3 Days

If you’ve been to this blog before, you know we talk about emergency preparedness—a lot. That’s because being prepared is part of being safe and secure. So when we heard that the state of Oregon has changed their recommendation for emergency preparedness from 72 hours of supplies to two weeks, we were intrigued, to say the least.

2 Weeks Ready
Oregon calls the campaign 2 Weeks Ready. This is a big change. We’re not talking 3 days to 5 or 7 or even 10, but 14. They’re recommending people in Oregon be ready to go it alone for two whole weeks. The situation in Oregon is based on the threats in that region, primarily earthquakes and tsunamis, but the reasoning is the lack of infrastructure in the aftermath of a disaster. As they say on their website:

“For many years, we’ve been talking about the importance of being prepared for 72 hours. This is a good start, and helpful in the event of short-term power outages or temporary evacuation. But a large earthquake and tsunami will leave much of the area’s transportation routes destroyed. Oregonians will have to count on each other in the community, in the workplace and at home in order to be safe until responders can reach you.”

Taking Oregon’s advice to heart
Although only certain parts of the U.S. are prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, it seems as if all of the U.S. is subject to some kind of natural disaster, from hurricanes to blizzards to wildfires to flooding…and more. Perhaps all of us should take this change from 3 days to 2 weeks seriously, because any of those disasters we just listed could also take down infrastructure. It doesn’t matter what causes the damage. Roads can be closed, power knocked out and communications taken down as a result.

Their website offers many resources and it’s definitely worth a look. They offer printable information sheets for business, communication, community, first aid, food, neighbors, pets and livestock, seniors, shelter, water and youth. They have a Facebook page and they are on Twitter.

How ready are you?
As we recently reported, only 40% of us are prepared for a disaster. That’s well less than half of the population. And for every person not prepared, the first responders and government agencies will be even more burdened with trying to help people. Do you want to rely on that? Or to take some responsibility for keeping your family safe and secure on your own? If you choose the latter, Oregon’s 2 Weeks Ready advice will help.

Preparing for Disasters: an Absolute Necessity, no Matter Where You Live

It really doesn’t matter where in the U.S. you live. Disaster preparedness is something we should all be doing as winter gets closer. Sure, not everyone faces blizzards or hurricanes or flash flooding or tornadoes or earthquakes or volcanoes or tsunamis (and thankfully, no part of the U.S. faces all of these, yikes!). But…things can go wrong, very wrong, anywhere.

In my own part of the country where extreme weather is rare, we still get earthquakes, windstorms, deep freezes, and—two years ago—a mudslide that killed 43 people and wiped out an entire neighborhood.

The fact is, disasters can happen anywhere, any time. Freak windstorms, downed power lines, outbreaks of disease, heat waves…many disasters don’t know geographical boundaries. They don’t care if you live on the San Andreas fault or in Tornado Alley.

So…be ready in case disaster does strike!
All of that doom and gloom speak there, it has a purpose: to encourage you to get some preparation done, just in case—because being ready for the worst is just one more part of keeping your home and family safe and secure.

If you think this isn’t necessary, consider this question: If all of a sudden, today, you had no electricity or running water, no phone, and no stores you could go to for supplies, how long could you and your family cope?

Make sure your family can cope for several days at least, by being prepared for a disaster. It’s not hard, just a little time-consuming, and resources are easy to find. The Internet has plenty of emergency checklists, and I encourage you to find one relevant to your area, print it out, and check off the items as you get ready for everything to go south.

A basic disaster preparedness checklist to get you started
To at least get you started, I’ve pulled together one that’s at least a little bit applicable to everybody throughout all the different regions, so maybe start here. And remember, better safe than sorry!

  • A heat source: If you didn’t have electricity or natural gas, how would you keep your family warm? And whatever that heat source is, make sure you have extra fuel, whether that’s propane for a heater or firewood for a wood stove.
  • A way to cook: This could be on your camping stove (outside!) or on a grill, or even on your woodstove. As with the heat source, make sure you have extra fuel, such as charcoal, propane or wood.
  • A hand-cranked or solar-powered radio
  • Matches, batteries, candles, flashlights: Stock up on all of these and make sure you keep spare batteries near the flashlights they’re for. Also make sure a couple of candles and flashlights are stored where they can be easy to reach and find in the dark.
  • Prescription medicines, first aid supplies, and cold remedies and helpers such as cough syrup: If someone in the family has prescription medicine, make sure to have extra on hand.
  • Food and water: This is a big one. Food needs to be either dried or canned, not frozen (since your freezer will stop working if the power goes out). It also needs to be easy to prepare. Keep enough on hand to last you a few days, not just one meal. Water is imperative. Store plenty for your family. Rotate through the food and water as needed, say every six months or so.
  • Pet food: Guess who else will be hungry? Make sure you stock up for them too.
  • Toilet paper: Seriously.
  • Gas: Keep your gas tank above half a tank at all times, and have extra gas on hand, safely stored in a gas can.
  • Generator and gas: Crank it up each fall and make sure it’s working before you need it.
  • Cash: You never know what might happen, but you want to be able to buy supplies even if the electricity is out and your debit card can’t be scanned.

Two surprising bonus tips
1) In addition to making sure your home is well supplied, also make sure your car is stocked for an emergency, and here’s a tip I just saw that makes so much sense: Keep your emergency kit and any extra blanket or clothing in the backseat! I had my kids put their emergency supplies in the trunk, but that doesn’t mean those supplies will be accessible. Moving those supplies to the back seat makes so much sense!

2) Stay healthy! Take good care of yourself, get plenty of sleep, eat well, and practice good hygiene to avoid getting the flu. Because if disaster strikes and you’re not healthy or strong enough to deal with the adversity, your emergency supplies won’t be much help!

Here’s hoping for a safe and sound winter for us all…but that we’re all ready for anything, just in case.

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