Think about the following scenarios:
1. The fire alarm goes off and it isn't a false alarm
2. An earthquake of magnitude 7, centered near Portland, rocks the Pacific Northwest
3. The Willamette river floods the Portland area
4. The electrical power to the neighborhood is disrupted for several days
5. A significant disaster occurs (e.g. tsunami, volcanic eruption, large-scale fire, tornado)
Now think about your answers to the following questions:
· Do you have an emergency preparedness kit, one that you can grab on the way out the door?
· Do you leave your pet behind when the fire alarm goes off?
· Do you have a small fire extinguisher that is quickly accessible in your unit?
· Do you have small children and how will you contact them if they are at school or elsewhere if an emergency occurs?
· Do your children have cell phones? What if cell phone service is disrupted?
· Do you have a planned rendezvous point, with backup, in case the building is closed off for safety purposes?
· Where would you stay in the event that the building or your unit becomes uninhabitable?
· Can you evacuate the building on your own? If not, who will help you down the stairs?
These are just a few of the questions that should be thought about before an emergency happens. In relation to these questions here are a few suggestions:
1. Emergency Preparedness Kit: Look into purchasing one. They are available online from a local Pearl District source at: Ready Set Go Kits or from other retailers.
· The stairwells may not be illuminated – the kit should include a flashlight and batteries
2. Plan for Pets: A carrying case, one that the pet is used to getting into on short notice, and/or a readably available leash, could make an evacuation easier and safer. Investigating where to board a pet is also a good idea. Remember that pets will not be allowed into public shelters.
3. Fire Extinguishers: Small fire extinguishers for under $20 are available at hardware and other home supply stores. They can help put out a fire in the crucial first 30-40 seconds.
4. Plan for Your Children/Family: Make a coordinated plan with your children/family in case of emergency including primary and backup rendezvous points.
5. Place to Stay: Knowing where you might be able to stay outside this immediate area can reduce the possibility of being without shelter for an extended period of time.
6. Evacuation Plan if You Need Help Down the Stairs: Arrange a support group to help you make it to the ground floor in an emergency, and ensure your name and unit number is on the list (maintained by Multi-Services) that tells the fire department who may need assistance leaving the building.
You may find that you or your neighbor will be the first responders in the event of a major emergency. After an event, like Katrina, many people found that they were on their own for the first few hours or days, so it makes sense to learn all we can before an event takes place. Here is a list of emergency preparedness online resources for more information:
"Are You Ready?" Guide (FEMA)
Emergency Preparedness Checklist (FEMA - pdf)
Office of Emergency Management Resources (Multnomah County)
Emergency Preparedness Resources (Clark Regional Emergency Services Agency)
City of Portland Emergency Preparedness (Portland Online)
We want you to be safe!