Preparing for the unthinkable

Icy roads are a nuisance. Losing electricity for a few hours is an annoyance. Losing electricty and communication for days on end is tragic and dangerous, as we have seen in the past weeks.

The spirit and generosity of Keizerites was evident everywhere you turned after the city was hit by an ice storm. Neighbor assisted neighbors residents jumped in to help clear the community. In times of trouble American society doesn’t ask how it can help, it digs in for the benefit of their fellow man.

We have to wonder what would happen if everybody was in the same boat in a lifechanging disaster? Some say that our region is overdue for a major earthquake but predicting an earthquake is nigh impossible. Experts can speculate, but nature doesn’t check in with humanity before an earthquake. 

Modern weather forecasting can almost pinpoint windstorms, snow and ice storms and heat waves, allowing each of us to prepare for them. We need not worry about an ice storm in August or a heat wave in January. Yet every day of the year we all live under the threat of an big earthquake. That is the disaster every household needs to be prepared for. 

An earthquake that destroys everything will affect those that traditionally respond: fire and police. Households need to take the steps to look after themselves.

The recent ice storm and power outages demonstrate the importance of having the items needed in a major event.

Any fire district or fire department can provide vital information about preparing for an emergency. 

What should every house have stocked in its emergency kit? Start with water, several gallons per person. Non-perishable food items and a manual can opener. Batteries of all sizes, battery-operate radio, blankets, first aid kit, a whistle (to signal for help), face maskes to help filter contaminated air, plastic sheeting and duct tape, tools such as a wrench or pliers, warm clothing and footwear, candles and matches.

It is a long list but it will help people to survive on their own in case help is not immediately on the way. An emergency kit is a necessity along with a plan for one’s family. Some families hold fire drills in their house; families can also design and hold earthquake drills. The fire district is a source of information for these kinds of drills.

We do not want to live in fear for what may not happen in our lifetimes. Being prepared is being smart. One thing that can make a disaster worse is not knowing what to do. Learning what needs to be done if a catastrophe strikes should be a top priority for every household. Neighboring households can team up to stock kits and have a plan to look after each other.

A power outage can be fixed; destroyed infrastruture is a challenge most of us are unprepaed for.