Release date: 03/24/2011
Sponsored by: Board of Commissioners

Preparing for Disasters is a Task for All of Us


Recent events around the Pacific remind us that bad things can happen anywhere, and at any time. Oregon, along with the rest of the world, watched in disbelief as earthquakes recently struck New Zealand. In Japan, a massive earthquake and deadly tsunamis wrought devastation along that country's northeastern coast. Our hearts and prayers go out to the survivors.

Here in Washington County, we sit along a major earthquake fault known as the Cascadia subduction zone. Experts agree that we are due for an earthquake of similar magnitude to Japan's. The effect of such an earthquake will be far reaching. Extensive damage to buildings, roads and infrastructure can be expected and emergency response agencies will be overburdened.

Now is a great time to start – or continue – with your efforts to be prepared. Doing so will help us care for ourselves, our families and our community. Although everyone's safety is at risk during a large-scale disaster, the evidence is clear that being prepared can save lives.

What can you do? There is no time like the present to begin! Start today:

1. Get a kit – Either create or purchase a 72 hour emergency kit. Something is always better than nothing; start putting items together even if you can't get it all done at once. Include sufficient food and water for each household member and pet. Backpacks or suitcases with wheels are useful containers for your supplies. For a list of supplies go to:

2. Make a plan – Talk to your loved ones. Create an emergency list of contacts for each family member. Have a plan of where and how to reunite. Identify someone out-of-state to contact and give your status. Make sure everyone knows how to send text messages. Often text messages can be sent when a phone call cannot connect. Discuss plans with your neighbors and co-workers. You might be each other's first responders. For an online planning tool visit:        

3. Be informed – Visit and bookmark local resource links. Keep a battery-powered radio in your 72-hour kit. Consider joining Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) for training. Take a CPR and/or First Aid Class.

4. Practice everyday preparedness – Commit to doing something daily. Make sure your mobile phone is always charged and have a charger for your vehicle. Keep a 72-hour kit in your car and at work.

We may never be completely prepared for the kinds of disasters we have seen in the world recently, but we can take small steps over time that will better position us to survive a disaster. Our incremental progress today could save our lives and those of our loved ones in the future. The key is to get started.

For more information please visit:

Washington County Preparedness: and 

Oregon Emergency Management:

National Preparedness: and

Chairman Andy Duyck
Commissioner Greg Malinowski
Commissioner Roy Rogers
Commissioner Dick Schouten
Commissioner Bob Terry