top of page

Family Ready for the Big One?

Originally published in 2014. Republished 2019.

.Homes fallen on car during an earthquake
from U.S. Geological survey

(And the small ones too)

Our Pacific Northwest’s big earthquake hasn’t happened yet, but it could happen any time.

Geologists have been expecting the big one and have been trying to warn us for quite long enough.

We should all be aware of the Subduction Zone facts.

Enough of passive information gathering. Want to get ready?

Join me as I help my extended family, and you all, get ready for that predicted event, or any smaller events between now and the #9 earth moving that is predicted.

I’ve begun planning and collecting. And, due to the recent Ecoli shut-down of our water supply, I’m sure my kit will have uses between now and the big bowling event. Unlike Rip Van Winkle, I plan not to be caught napping.

I know you also will have great ideas about what to get, where to get it and how to store it. So, please share your ideas about getting ready as we go down this road toward readiness and safety.

Our family is extended, but most of us live in the greater Portland area. We need to plan together, but also plan separately. We don’t live close enough to assume we can get to each other in a crisis.

Thus, we realized that each family unit would need its own equipment. And we can add to these collections as we can afford to do so. The first questions is what do we each need? And to begin, what do we need the most?

We humans are 60% water, so Water tops that Needs Most list.

The recommended water storage is 3 gallons a day per person for at least five days. I hunted over the area for water storage and found that most in the know recommend plastic 55 gallon drums. First problem, who sells these?

Four empty water barrels waiting to become Christmas presents.
One water barrel for each family in PortlandThey are waiting to become Christmas presents.. Not enough, but a beginning.

Online, I found many container stores. I called a hootin’ lot of them, and discovered that:

1) Some were out of business

2) Some didn’t deal with small fry like me and

3) Some couldn’t answer my questions about what I needed.

But one store understood what I was trying to do, and took the time to answer.

That one place was Myers Containers at 8435 Northeast Killingsworth Street, Portland, OR, 1-800 406-9377.

When I called, I was transferred right away to Alberto.

He told me they had just what I was looking for.

I drove out there and looked at the product. I ordered five.

They are sturdy, have strong plug-ins on top and are a good price at $65. This amounts to all of Christmas for each family, but what do you do when you love folks? You help them get ready. Right? I hope you and yours are following in my footsteps.

I’ll make big tracks, just for you, my friends.

Blue fifty-five gallon drum lined inside for water storage.
Filling our empty barrel. We'll change water every April and October.

We took the tree-farm truck to Myers, met Alberto and Jesus, who helped us plunk four containers into the truck—a perfect fit. We’ll go back after the fifth one next week.

Next blog entry, I’ll show you how we’re going to get all that water out of the 55 gallon drums when we need it.

Mechanical pumps, here we come!

Close up of opening at the top of the water barrel.
One of two spigot openings on our barrel. We should tie it to something sturdy, like a water heater. But what is sturdy enough?

Post Script:

In my previous discussion, (June 2, 2013) I mentioned resources we all can use:

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

These sites have lists that have been thoughtfully worked out by people who practice emergency response.

Another resource is available – your neighborhood preparedness volunteers.

My friend, Ruth Jones has joined the Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) program. It is her volunteer job to attend preparedness sessions and to make information she gets available to her neighbors.

I got into this project because of Ruth’s presentation at a neighborhood brown bag lunch. She remains a source for us. You can call 503-823-4375 or go online at to find out how your neighbors can be ready for any type of emergency.


bottom of page