Here in the Pacific Northwest, fires, floods and earthquakes are a fact of life. In Clackamas County, disasters don’t plan ahead—but you can.
After a large scale disaster, emergency responders may be delayed for hours or even days. Planning ahead can make all the difference for you and your loved ones during that time. Keep reading for a breakdown of some steps you can take to be as prepared as possible.
Putting a little bit of effort now into building a disaster preparedness kit can prevent very trying hardships for you, your family and pets later.
Go Kits include supplies you’ll need in case you must evacuate your home.
Stay Kits provide you with the means to stay in your home for an extended period of time, as supplies might not be able to be delivered to your area for weeks.
Camping Kits give you direction if you need the option of camping in your backyard or elsewhere.
Your top priority during an emergency will probably be finding loved ones. How will you communicate? Where will you meet if you're separated? Get together now to talk about it.
Think about where you spend most of your time. Discuss how you'd deal with different situations.
- Agree on several meeting places
For each scenario you discussed, agree on a meeting place.
- Pick local and out-of-state contacts
Think of friends, family, and neighbors who might be able to help during an emergency if they are nearby. Next, select one or two contacts that don't live on the West Coast.
- Write it all down
You're likely to forget the plan if you're upset. Make sure everything is written down and everyone has a copy with them at all times.
- Update emergency contacts regularly
If you have kids, provide their school with several emergency contacts. Do the same for loved ones in a retirement home, medical facility or other facility.
- Share your plans
Share your plans with family, friends, neighbors, co-workers and caregivers.
- Practice the plans
Walk to your meeting sites regularly. Talk about the plan.
- Leave a trail
If you decide to leave your agreed upon meeting place, leave a note telling people where you’re headed.
- Conduct an Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt
Do you have a big-screen television? Is it strapped down? What about large pictures or paintings? Bookcases and shelving? Water heaters? It is essential to safely secure heavy objects inside your house so that they don't fall on anyone. Check out what to look for according to FEMA.
In a disaster, Clackamas County sends out vital information through a telephone emergency system. You never know where you are going to be when a disaster strikes, so make sure you have as many ways as possible to receive information. Signing up takes less than three minutes. You can also sign up for other local alerts.
It's also a good idea to follow Clackamas County Disaster Management's official Facebook and Twitter feeds, as we will communicate updates and information via these channels in times of a disaster (along with our website).
Every October, Clackamas County encourages all residents to participate in the worldwide Great ShakeOut! This large-scale drill is a great opportunity to practice what to do when the shaking starts. Get event details, tips and other information.
Do you know what type of disasters are most likely to happen? Review the Clackamas County Hazard Analysis to find out.
Learn more about what Clackamas County Disaster Management is doing to minimize the impact of natural and human-caused incidents.
Check here throughout the month to see how county departments are planning ahead.
At a Glance: How Commissioners are Getting Prepared
Chair Jim Bernard
I have participated in emergency exercises with the County’s Disaster Management Department and our partners in order to prepare for an actual emergency or regional event so we understand how to maintain services and communicate with the public. County partners include cities, the State of Oregon, nonprofits, first responders, faith-based organizations, schools and others. We will work together through a unified Emergency Operation Center to make sure our residents receive help and information. But no matter how much we prepare, it will take all of us working together as neighbors, to get through any emergency that comes our way. I invite you to learn more online.
Commissioner Sonya Fischer
During an emergency, it will be up to all of us to help our most vulnerable residents reach safety. In addition to creating an emergency kit, keep a sturdy pair of shoes under your bed in the case of an overnight emergency so that you do not have to walk barefoot through debris and can quickly help others. To prepare, help a senior or a neighbor with a disability create an emergency plan and kit as well. Make sure they have adequate medication and other support needs to last for several days if there is ever a large-scale event. If you can, offer to be part of their support network.
Commissioner Ken Humberston
During a disaster, it may take a long time for first responders or utility workers to reach you. The first line of response will be your neighbors. It is important to talk to your neighbors about the resources each person has available to them prior to an emergency situation. You can learn what skills people have to offer, create a neighborhood contact list and a plan. Whether it’s minor flooding, a heat wave or a large-scale event, knowing ahead of time how neighbors can support each other can prove invaluable. Information on the county’s website or Ready.gov can help with ideas to engage your neighbors or people in your community.
Commissioner Paul Savas
Every community at one time or another will experience an emergency. We can all do our part to help each other by advance planning and being prepared. One proactive way to prepare is by signing up for public alerts. By providing contact information through this notification system, county residents will be able to receive critical emergency messages via email, phone call, and text during times of disasters. All county residents can enroll online. We can also help by learning CPR and first aid training to assist someone who is injured when disaster strikes. Having skills to help someone in need could make all the difference in the life of another person when first responders may be overwhelmed with calls.
Commissioner Martha Schrader
When I think about being ready for a big earthquake or other natural disaster, I instantly think of the needs of my family, children and pets. Many services, like drinking water, grocery stores or pharmacies, may be unavailable or inaccessible. It’s imperative to have a stash of clean water on hand in an emergency! Next time you are at the store grab a couple extra cases of bottled water for that special someone or cherished pet in your life. For a list of what to include in your Emergency Kit for everyone in your household, visit Ready.gov.