NET/CERT - Portland OEM held a rare meeting of their Neighborhood Emergency Team leaders just this last Tuesday. The assembled volunteers were basically told that, unlike many other jurisdictions, the City of Portland does not clearly indemnify the volunteers they train to respond to major disasters.
Because 65-75% of urban disaster response is actually neighbors helping neighbors, this critical aspect of our local preparedness portfolio should be addressed. A core group of trained volunteers in every neighborhood would address a lot of unnecessary suffering and even death.
Schools - If we learned anything from the China Earthquake, it should be the danger of having all of our children grouped in seismically unsound schools when a quake hits. News reports make it clear that Chile, a country of more modest means, did much more proactive work to close/replace building that were deathtraps. We should learn from their example.
Anniversary - We need to counteract the deeply held impression that this is not earthquake country, by having a very public observance of the anniversary of the last Cascadia Earthquake (Jan 26th, 1700). If we had our civic leaders observe this day, and even had something loud like the traffic stoppage/sirens that Hiroshima uses, people would stop for a moment and think. Maybe a small percentage each year would actually build their home kit, make a plan. That would add up.
Red Cross - There seems to be misconception about the Red Cross. Many people I talk to do not seem to realize that; a. They are not tasked with response, but with recovery (which they are masterful at). b. Their strength is their ability to mobilize and funnel an ever-increasing stream of materiel and people to the disaster area. If you are Vernonia and you have a flood, they can cover it with largely local resources, but in a huge regional event they too will be overwhelmed and it will take time, a great deal of time, before meaningful help arrives. This reality is why people in the know say your home kit should be for at least a week, not 72 hours.
posted 3 years ago
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