Monday, August 10, 2009

Make Emergency Plans Now - Statesman Journal

Jennifer Bailey • August 5, 2009

When I ask people if they are prepared for an emergency, I hear something like "We've got extra food in the cupboards, and there's a flashlight somewhere. We could get it all together if we needed to." Nothing is said about a family plan or other emergency preparations.

I'm glad people have supplies, but what they don't seem to understand is that there may not be time to "get it all together." Recent research conducted by FEMA on preparedness showed 40 percent of survey respondents did not have household plans, 80 percent had not conducted home evacuation drills, and nearly 60 percent did not know their community's evacuation routes.

Nearly 20 percent reported having a disability that would affect their capacity to respond to an emergency situation, but shockingly only one out of four of them had made arrangements specific to their disability to help them respond safely in the event of an emergency.

Go to this Web site for details:

Our nation's emergency responders do an incredible job of keeping us safe, but they can't do it alone.

For example, Marion County has 826 firefighters. Just 252 are paid, and 574 are volunteers. That's 826 firefighters for 314,606 people. It is our responsibility to be prepared and to prepare our families.

Jennifer Bailey, formerly of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, is the Public Affairs Coordinator of Oregon Emergency Management. She may be reached at (503) 378-2911, Ext. 22294, or

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