Thursday, July 23, 2009

Preparing for disasters can be simple, economical - Statesman Journal

July 22, 2009

Don't hide your head in the sand.

Is being prepared for an emergency too difficult, too time-consuming, too expensive or just too scary? Would we rather ignore it all and hope for the best?

How long did it take the fire department to educate the public on the need for a smoke detector in the home, and why do we get more preparedness info on an airline flight than we get as citizens about disaster?

I would be very interested in your thoughts on this subject. You tell me — how can I get people to be ready to take care of themselves for at least 72 hours? How can I get them to think through the possibility that they may have to either stay home with no power, water and phone, or may have to leave in a hurry with their pets and possibly on foot?

We might have advance warning of a flood, windstorm, snowstorm or even a pandemic flu, but we won't be warned ahead of time for an earthquake. We won't be warned if a truck carrying chemicals has a wreck on the freeway, a plane crashes on Interstate 5 or if there is a school shooting.

No one is going to tell us the week before to get ready for a terrorist attack.

There are simple and economical things we can do to drastically improve our emergency readiness.

Check out the Oregon Emergency Management blog for a list of items you want to have on hand and please write with any questions you might have. We don't have to be afraid — just ready.

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

Please send questions about emergency preparedness to be answered in this column to Other information may be found at or