September is National Preparedness Month! The theme this year is “Disasters happen. Prepare Now. Learn How.”
A lot of what we covered in our wildfire series last year is transferable to other disasters as well! If you prepared for fire season, you have a head start on being prepared for other disasters too! The first thing to do is to think about what your home is most at risk for. For our district, that’s going to be wildfires, flooding, and earthquakes!
Some of the things that many of us love about Falls City – it’s small and isolated – could also make it a harder for us to get help during a disaster. A large earthquake, even if it isn’t the Cascadia earthquake, could knock out our power and other utilities as well as cut off road access in and out of town – making it harder to return services and bring in necessary supplies and other resources. Which means we have to be prepared to take care of ourselves, our families, our neighbors, and our community for at least two weeks if not longer in case of a large scale disaster.
Don’t panic though! We never know when a disaster will strike us personally or regionally but we don’t have to do ALL THE THINGS right. this. second. Maybe do a preparedness activity once a week, however small, or maybe every other week. Find a schedule that you can work with financially and personally and start preparing!
Here’s some steps you should think about taking either individually or as a family:
- Read about local evacuation levels.
- Make an emergency plan. Where will you go? How will you go? How will you contact each other if the family is not together at the time of the emergency? Who takes care of who? What will you all need?
- Practice your emergency plan. Make sure you involve everyone in the plan – even pets!
- Learn CPR – traditional or hands-free.
- Learn first aid.
- Learn how to shut off the utilities at your home.
- Understand what your insurance does and does not cover. Look into getting coverage that you might be missing specific to our area’s potential disasters.
- Start an emergency fund.
- Get all of your important documents organized and in a secure, easy to access location – financial, medical, identification, etc.
- Make an emergency supply kit for each member of your family – including anyone that you are responsible for that does not live in your house, pets, and livestock. The Statesman Journal did a great series on how to build an emergency supply kit over 24 weeks!
Remember! “Disasters Don’t Plan Ahead. You Can.”