Preparing your family for disasters

What’s stopping you from preparing your family for disasters? Clackamas Fire is dedicated to the important goal of making our community more disaster resilient. Helping families overcome their barriers to disaster preparedness is a big part of achieving that goal.

“It won’t happen to me.”

The truth is our community is at real risk for several types of natural disasters.

  • Winter storm
  • Flooding
  • Earthquake
  • Wildfire

Because we do not experience natural disasters with the same frequency as many other states, it can be easy for us to ignore the dangers natural disasters pose to our community.

The Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake poses the greatest risk to the Northwest. This earthquake is projected to be a magnitude 9 and shake for up to 5 minutes! Experts believe that many of our bridges and buildings will fail under this stress. Water, fuel and communications will also be disrupted for an extended period of time. Emergency Management officials project a minimum of two weeks before the arrival of federal assistance. Make sure your disaster kit has at least two weeks of supplies to bridge the gap between when the incident occurs and when help arrives.

“First Responders will be there when disaster strikes.”

Clackamas Fire and our community partners plan, equip and train for responding following a large disaster. Depending on the nature of the disaster, First Responders may be delayed for hour or even days! It is critically important for each of us to take the steps necessary to make our families more resilient to disasters.

Know the types of hazards possible for your community.

The Pacific Northwest is subject to a number of potential disasters, including:

  • Winter storm
  • Flooding
  • Landslides
  • Earthquakes
  • Power outages
  • Wildfire

Make and practice a family communication plan

Being able to communicate with your family following a disaster may be difficult. Make a list of all family members' contact information and place copies in wallets, purses, glove box, preparedness kits, backpacks, etc. Make sure to include information for an out of state contact in the event local cell networks are overburdened.

Build a kit with the preparedness essentials

  • Food
  • Water
  • First aid
  • Lighting
  • Shelter
  • Hand crank radio
  • Protective clothing
  • Pet needs

Spread the preparedness message

Following a disaster, the first assistance is most likely to come in the form of neighbors helping neighbors.

Take time to meet your neighbors. Know who might need special assistance in a disaster, and identify individuals with equipment and expertise that might come in handy.

Get your clubs, workplaces and places of worship involved in disaster preparedness.

“It costs too much.”

Preparing for disasters does not have to break the bank. Here are some simple strategies to make preparing convenient and affordable.

  • Shop at the large chain discount stores. You will not only find big savings, but you will also likely get everything you need in one place.
  • Stock up on inexpensive canned foods rather than costly extended shelf life foods. A great food strategy is to rotate your canned food annually by donating to the local food bank. This will ensure your emergency food is never out of date, you will get a tax deduction, and most importantly, you will help people at a time when they need it most.
  • Consider buying in bulk with other families.