Preparing now, surviving later after The Big One

It's more than food and water you will need to survive

A customer care representative at the American Red Cross store unpacks and displays a two person emergency preparedness kit in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
A customer care representative at the American Red Cross store unpacks and displays a two person emergency preparedness kit in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — John Warner takes his role as leader of the neighborhood emergency team in the Pearl District very seriously.

He’s one of the volunteers trained by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and he knows that if an earthquake hits, local, state and federal emergency crews will be overwhelmed.

“If there’s a disaster,” he told KOIN 6 News. “It’s going to pretty much feel like the wilderness.”

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Dr. Chris Goldfinger, professor of geology and geophysics at Oregon State University, answered your earthquake questions on this KOIN 6 Facebook post.

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Gathering 3 weeks of food and supplies may seem daunting, especially when you consider some of the items recommended to have: an ax, a radio, climbing gear, rope, spray paint.

Filipino rescuers evacuate a mock victim from a "collapsed structure" during a Metropolitan Manila-wide earthquake drill. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)
Filipino rescuers evacuate a mock victim from a “collapsed structure” during a Metropolitan Manila-wide earthquake drill. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Warner asked his apartment building to separate a fenced in storage unit just for emergency materials. He suggests people in similar buildings ask management for the same setup.

It’s different in the Pearl District than it is along the coast, inside the Tsunami Zone. People who live there will have no choice but to survive for weeks, at least, because they will be hit first and hardest.

“They certainly will have the highest impact and have the least access to infrastructure,” said Andrew Phelps, the director of the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Some basic outdoor survival and medical skills will go a long way, he said. “It’s not just about having stuff.”

A couple walks hand in hand past one of many tsunami evacuation route signs in Cannon Beach, Ore., Friday, April 1, 2005. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)
A couple walks hand in hand past one of many tsunami evacuation route signs in Cannon Beach, Ore., Friday, April 1, 2005. (AP Photo/Don Ryan)

The pastor of the Bay City United Methodist Church, Dave Hurd, and his wife Danielle are aggressively preparing their coastal community.

“We’re trying to get ready, but I’d say right now we’re not sure,” Dave Hurd told KOIN 6 News.

Their church sits right on the Tsunami Inundation Zone. He said they’ve been collecting and preparing for The Big One for years.

“It’s time to stop being so complacent and to start preparing,” the pastor said.

Their emergency packs include foods and candles, pluse extra clothes. Danielle said shes’ been giving away backpacks filled with the basics to help people get started.

The Basic Earthquake Emergency Communications Node -- BEECN, known as beacon -- includes emergency items in stainless steel chests positioned throughout Portland. (KOIN)
The Basic Earthquake Emergency Communications Node — BEECN, known as beacon — includes emergency items in stainless steel chests positioned throughout Portland. (KOIN)

Danielle is as concerned with her neighbors as she is herself. “I want to get ready to make sure people in my neighborhood could survive with me.”

The Hurds may have enough supplies to survive for 3 weeks, but many don’t.

Gordon McCraw, the director of emergency management for Tillamook County, said many of that area’s residents live in the Tsunami Inundation Zone and “will probably be without assistance outside of Tillamook County for weeks at a time.”

“The way to survive it,” McCraw said, “is to react now.”

He’s been all over educating people about what to have in their backpacks: first aid kits, food and water, bandages, a box of gloves.

Experts recommend these Earthquake Preparedness Items:

  • One gallon of water per day for everyone in your house
  • A National Weather Service radio with extra batteries.
  • Flashlight
  • Medication
  • Toiletries
  • Blanket
  • Map
  • Cash
  • Personal documents: birth certificates, passports, insurance policies

The key is to stock up beginning now and keep stockpiling consistently. Then you’ll be ready for if — when — The Big One hits.

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