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Basic planning and preparation make big difference in a crisis

Recognition of September as Emergency Preparedness Month this year is met with myriad scenes of destruction, caused primarily by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

Though the storms struck the other side of the country, they delivered yet another warning to be prepared. To use a line from the Yamhill County Emergency Management: “Disasters don’t plan ahead, but you can.”

No one need to be a doomsday prepper to fashion a basic plan of attack in case of disaster. In our case, that would most likely be a catastrophic Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and accompanying tsunami.

Small steps like storing an extra water jug or pack of batteries promise vital dividends if and when utilities are cut off. Simply visiting the county’s emergency management Facebook page and heeding its advice would be beneficial. 

For example, even if you haven’t stocked up on bottled water, you still have reserves available, according to a flier posted there recently. In case of emergency, your crisis water source could be a toilet or water heater tank.

The flier describes the best way to purify water from those and other suspect sources, like a nearby spring. Setting up a hydration plan ranks toward the top of preparation planning needs, as you need a gallon of water per person daily.

For a comprehensive lesson, we recommend marking your calendar for the county’s Oct. 21 Emergency Preparedness Fair, to be held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Newberg. A series of 30-minute workshops will explain emergency cooking, drinking and shelter options, among other things.

Another useful source is the state preparedness office’s 2 Weeks Ready page on Facebook. The state initiative encourages Oregonians to expect two weeks without help from government sources.

While food and water are essential, many other items can help a family endure two weeks on its own as well. Toys and games should be stashed to keep spirits up, and extra personal care products packed away.

Those items will be points of emphasis on Oct. 19, when the state observes the Great Oregon ShakeOut. It’s a good time to review your emergency plans, as agencies, schools and organizations perform practice runs to assess their own plans of action.

Advocating for emergency preparedness can seem like little more than do-gooder nagging sometimes. But it’s definitely worth heeding. 

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