This article appears in the September 2017 Marion County TODAY Community Newsletter
Each year Marion County recognizes September as national Emergency Preparedness Month and practices earthquake preparedness in October during the Great Oregon Shakeout. In the Mid-Willamette Valley we've had the opportunity in the last few months to see emergency planning in action. From preparations for the historic total solar eclipse to devastating wildfires, emergency management staff and others have worked to ensure that our area is ready when/if disaster strikes.
Following a hot, dry summer with several wildfires impacting the state and our region, we've already seen a dramatic change in weather with an early fall rainstorm. While the rain is providing needed relief for fires, it also brings its own set of potential problems. Increased rain and badly burned forested areas bring the increased possibility of flash floods.
Whether it's an unexpected fall storm, earthquake, or preparing for a large influx of visitors, there are some simple things you can do to prepare yourself, your family, and your home.
Make a plan: Plan on how you're going to evacuate your house if necessary; drop, cover and hold if there is an earthquake; gather supplies in case of evacuation; and plan on how you will communicate with your family.
Get a kit: Families are encouraged to have enough emergency supplies for a minimum of two weeks. In fact, emergency preparedness professionals recommend having three emergency kits – a 72-hour go bag, a 7-day work kit, and a home kit with the suggested two weeks of supplies for each household member. Recommended kit items include water, food, medicine, first aid supplies, flashlight, radio and more.
Stay informed: Be mindful of the hazards that could affect our area. Stay tuned to news, radio, and social media for emergency notifications from local officials. Marion County posts active alerts on our website at www.co.marion.or.us/Alerts.
The most important thing you can do is be aware of the possibilities and don't take any unnecessary risks. Emergency preparedness doesn't have to be complicated, but it does require some thought and action on your part. For many, a 72-hour go kit is a good place to start.
Luckily, there are a lot of resources to help you prepare. Oregon Emergency Management has information on disaster risks, an emergency kit checklist, the popular "Living on Shaky Ground" booklet, and numerous other publications you can download for free. Remember, disasters don't plan ahead – you can!