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Making sure you’re prepared for the ‘big one’

Published on February 17, 2017 12:01AM

Last changed on February 17, 2017 9:00PM

If a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake hits the Pacific Northwest, individual preparation will be key. Emergency preparedness experts at FEMA and the Red Cross recommend keeping a portable 72-hour emergency kit ready, then working to build up at least a 14-day emergency supply of food and water.

If that seems overwhelming, Umatilla County emergency manager Tom Roberts suggested that families focus on one step at a time. They can pledge to buy an extra case of bottled water next time it’s on sale, for example, or plan to write out a list of family members’ contact information this weekend. More information about emergency preparedness can be found at ready.gov.

Basic Preparations

Put together a 72-hour emergency kit using:

1. One gallon of water per person per day for drinking and hygiene

2. Non-perishable food for three days (include manual can opener if needed)

3. A battery-operated radio/NOAA weather radio

4. Flashlight

5. Extra batteries for flashlight and radio

6. First aid kit/ needed medications

7. Personal hygiene items (soap, toothbrush, contact solution, tampons, etc.)

8. Multitool and/or pliers to turn off utilities

9. A portable/solar cell phone charger

10. Laminated list of emergency contacts and family emergency plan

11. Map of the area

12. Copies of insurance, birth certificates and other important documents

13. Extra cash

14. If needed, supplies for infants or pets

Intermediate preparations

Further items helpful to keep on hand in case of an emergency:

1. Two week supply of nonperishable food

2. Two week supply of water

3. Plain bleach to purify water (16 drops per gallon)

4. Mess kit or paper goods

7. Blankets or sleeping bags

8. Towels

9. Matches in a waterproof container

10. Work gloves and dust mask

11. Plastic sheeting and duct tape

12. Camp stove and extra propane (do not use indoors)

Advanced preparation

1. Become a licensed ham radio operator

2. Become a Red Cross volunteer

3. Take first aid/CPR classes

4. If you’re a health professional, get pre-credentialed with the State Emergency Register of Volunteers

5. Seismically safeguard your home, including bolting it to its foundation and securing your hot water heater to the wall

5. Create a plan with neighbors, church members and/or co-workers to make sure everyone is taken care of


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