Thursday, September 2, 2010

Community Preparedness: The Facts

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 these 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 forty 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 website for details -

In Oregon, I have found that approximately 1 out of 10 people I talk to have an emergency kit put together and stored where family members can get to it. And we haven’t even covered the necessity of preparing for our pets.

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. 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 – in doing so; we contribute to the safety and security of the state and the nation as well.