The effects of a changing climate have led to larger wildfires, hotter days, intense storms and worsening drought conditions throughout the state, impacting Oregonians’ lives, livelihoods and property. These recurring events, coupled with the threat of a 9.0+ magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and a resulting tsunami, emphasize the urgent need for everyone in the state to be prepared.
September is National Preparedness Month, and the state’s theme – Plan Today. Ready Tomorrow. – advises everyone to take active steps to plan and prepare today to be ready for future emergencies and disasters.
“Every Oregonian can be ready for emergencies, and it doesn’t have to be expensive or happen all at once,” said Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) Director Andrew Phelps. “It’s about doing what you can, where you are, with what you have, to keep yourself and your family safe.”
Being ready means having an emergency plan, being informed and aware of risks, and knowing how to get information. There are many simple and effective low-cost and no-cost actions Oregonians can take today to be ready for tomorrow, including signing up for emergency alerts, reviewing community evacuation routes, enabling Wireless Emergency Alerts on cell phones, making copies of important documents, watching preparedness videos, learning how to perform first-aid, and getting to know neighbors and community resources.
“A big part of OEM’s mission is to empower Oregonians to be as prepared as possible in an emergency,” said Phelps. “A disaster can happen anywhere at any time, and once it occurs, it may take days or even weeks for responders to reach everyone impacted. For every one person that’s prepared, that’s one less person first responders need to worry about, allowing them to triage effectively and attend to life-threatening situations. Being ready involves neighbors helping neighbors and other vulnerable populations. Folks should talk to others in their community to determine who has what supplies and who might need extra help in an emergency.”
OEM’s “2 Weeks Ready” program recommends Oregonians have an emergency plan and enough food, water and supplies to survive for at least two weeks following any large-scale emergency. Knowing disasters disproportionately affect marginalized communities, the department offers several downloadable equitable and accessible readiness resources to help inform all Oregonians of their risks and ways to help one another prepare. People are encouraged to contact their county emergency management office to request printed copies.
OEM is partnering with Governor Brown’s office, American Red Cross Cascades Region, and fellow response state agencies and key partners to message National Preparedness Month throughout September. Learn more at OEM’s website and its social media platforms.