EDITOR’S NOTE: The North Lincoln Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) works to help the community be prepared for disasters and various emergencies. One concern often heard is how overwhelming it seems to take all the steps needed to be prepared for a disaster. To address that issue North Lincoln CERT has embarked on a 52-Week Personal Preparedness Challenge.
We are full force into the holiday season, a time with family and friends, of giving and sharing. These times together provide an outstanding opportunity to share the Gift of Preparedness with the people we care about and who care about us.
In talking with friends and family around the country, I have heard some concern about the risks of where I live on the Oregon Coast because our Cascadia fault system has had some much-needed publicity. I’m generally quick to point out that every area has its risks of natural disaster and each requires a level of knowledge and preparation to live successfully with those risks.
Conversations often turn to a general overview of the kinds of events that can occur on the coast and the steps I take to be prepared for any and all of them. I explain that I’m not an optimist or a pessimist, rather I’m a catastrophist: I prepare myself for the worst, do everything I can reasonably do, then I go eat pizza and enjoy my day. I’m prepared for the worst day so that every other day has the potential to be my best day.
One of the points mentioned repeatedly in this series is having a plan and then sharing that plan with the people in your life. For example, an evacuation plan may include a distant assembly area, or a communication plan may have an out-of-state contact that can act as an informational relay in a crisis. Holiday gatherings are excellent times to share your plans, especially with those that may play a key role in your safety. If you’re going to be with friends and family, pass out copies of your emergency contact cards, so if an emergency does happen, they will know whom to call to find out that you’re okay.
Talk about your plans and encourage your family and friends to make emergency preparedness plans of their own. Encourage them to put together go kits, emergency food and tools, and take the same steps you are taking to be prepared. Your gift to them is your concern for their safety and your own.
As you are putting together your gift list, consider having an emergency preparedness theme to your giving. There are a number of books, resources, and products that make terrific gifts, 72-hour emergency food kits are inexpensive, and there are a number of useful and creative tools that have been listed in this series that would make nice gifts and stocking stuffers.
And, of course, if anyone asks you what you’d like for the holidays, have your emergency supply wish list ready.
If you would like to know more about Community Emergency Response Teams or have a representative come talk to your neighborhood group, church or business, please contact North Lincoln County CERT Public Information Officer JoDana Bright at 541-994-2700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.