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Being Prepared

Updated: Oct 2, 2019

for the Big One

Originally published June 6, 2014; republished September 1, 2019.

My friend, Ruth Jones, has tried to take care of her neighbors and her friends by joining Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) program. Convincing complacent friends to be prepared has been an uphill slog for Ruth, but she keeps at it.

Last month, friends were at my house for lunch. We talked (not for the first time) about Ruth’s hope that we are actually collecting the things we need to survive the next (and way overdue) big earthquake in Oregon.

Building slumped over cars after earthquake.
Disaster strikes. Are you ready?

So, because Ruth has been trying so hard to get our attention on this subject, I challenged those who were at lunch to tackle the first and most important part of the list of emergency needs – water.

My challenge was that by June (the next month) we should all have the suggested amount of water for every member of our family stored in our garage or basement.

Since I was the one who proposed the challenge, I had to go out and do.

I bought a five gallon bottle of water for each person living in the house.

So, guess what we used when Portland recently had its boil water alert…

And now, I’m thankful and a lot more ready to get prepared for other emergencies.

I am going to tackle Ruth’s list from Neighborhood Emergency Team.

I’m going to work down the list one item at a time because even one day of the Boil Water Alert showed me how much we take life in modern times for granted.

And, friends, I hope you will join me in getting prepared. There are great resources for us. The first place to go is  The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management.

Take a look at the suggestions for planning, for collecting needed resources and especially for communication during an emergency.

Remember in a real emergency we may also be without the internet, so print off those to-do lists. Take them with you when you are getting items. Keep whittling down that list and meet me at the communications center tents set up for our neighborhood in the event of the Big One.

(Mine will be at Irvington School playground. Figure out from the map on the website where your communications center will be.)

An Oscilloscope showing a shockwave from an earthquake.
Here is an image of disaster -- a shockwave.

It doesn’t matter if the next emergency is just an icy winter, a boil water alert, or a more devastating event, I’d like to urge my friends to be ready, and then relax.

Too often, I’ve relaxed first, thinking about getting ready.

I’m glad I didn’t relax before I did step one – Water.

Become trained as a member of a Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET). Or at least learn what you need to do to be prepared.


Phone: 503-823-4375 Fax: 503-823-3903 TDD: 503-823-3947

URL for Portland Bureau of Emergency Management
Look us up. We can help you get ready.


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