The Pacific Northwest flies under the radar as natural disasters go. We get the occasional wind storm or mudslide, and forest fires are certainly a summertime regular, but tornadoes and hurricanes or weeks of sub-zero temps mostly stay away.
Which is partly why the recent article in The New Yorker entitled The Really Big One by Karen Schulz shook Oregon and Washington residents to their collective core.
An earthquake of absolutely epic proportions is lying in wait just off the coast of the Pacific Northwest.
The Cascadia subduction zone, a fault line where the Juan de Fuca oceanic plate is slowly forcing its way under the North America tectonic plate, is part of the “ring of fire.” Lesser known than the famous San Andreas fault, the Cascadia subduction zone is becoming a household name on the west coast. When these dueling plates give way, and they will, the resulting earthquake could register an astounding 9.3. The tsunami that follows will destroy everything in its path.
From the article: “Our operating assumption is that everything west of Interstate 5 will be toast,” says Kenneth Murphy, who directs FEMA’s Region X, the division responsible for Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.
· 13000 deaths
· 27000 injuries
· 1M displaced people needing shelter
· 2.5 M people needing food and water
Survivors will face months if not years of rebuilding.
Planning for this sort of devastation is so overwhelming it seems almost pointless,
and that might be one of the reasons most of us have neither an emergency kit nor an emergency plan.
September is National Preparedness Month and this is the third in a four part series of posts on Emergency Kits. Thus far we’ve talked about the Car Kit and the Under Bed Kit. This week we will focus on the Stay at Home Kit.
The Stay at Home Kit
We must understand these THREE ESSENTIALS when building our Stay at Home Emergency Kits.
1. You're On Your Own
When disaster hits, police, fire and medical go to the hardest hit, most highly populated areas. Folks in the suburbs and rural areas may not see emergency help for days.
Be prepared to:
· Turn off your own gas and water (if necessary)
· Repair your own residence
· Share equipment with neighbors (generators, fire extinguishers,
· Care for children and elderly
2. It Could Last a Long Time
Utilities, city services, roads and bridges will be restored and repaired in due time, but be prepared to live without creature comforts for more than the standard 72 hours.
The following will serve you well:
· Camping equipment
· Water purification systems
· Solar powered devices
· Dehydrated foods
· Non-local communication contact
3. Any Kit is Better than No Kit
It’s easy to become overwhelmed with all this planning, but experts assure us any action is better than no action. Start by stashing emergency supplies in one central location, a little at a time. Eventually you will have a well-stocked Stay at Home Kit. Click on the links below for more information about certain items.
THE STAY AT HOME KIT
Large Sturdy Bin (wheels are a plus)|
Large Trash Can with Lid (wheels are
Assorted Bins for Smaller Items
Advanced First Aid Kit
Pain Relief/Fever Reducer
Shelter & Warmth
Extra Blankets/Sleeping Bags
Warm Coat/Rain Coat
Complete Change of Clothes
Shoes & Socks
Bottled Water |
Water Filter System
Water Containment System
Hot Water Heater
Pool/Hot Tub Water (ok for bathing
Non-perishable Dry Goods|
Powdered Energy Drinks
Emergency Supply of Food
Cash (small denominations)
All Purpose Tool Kit|
Leatherman Tool/ Pocket
Wrench (to turn off natural gas)
Radio (solar, crank or battery) |
Hard Line Phone
Flashlights (solar, crank or battery)
Lanterns (solar, crank, battery
Camping Stove & Fuel
BBQ Grill & Fuel or Charcoal
Plastic Plates, Cups & Eating Utensils
Antibacterial Dish Soap
Contact Case & Saline
Hearing Aid Batteries
Toothbrush, Toothpaste and Floss
Cotton Balls & Swabs
Shampoo & Conditioner
Body Wash or Soap
Wash Cloths & Towels
Razor & Shaving Cream
Formula & Bottles|
Diapers & Wipes
Change of Clothes
(have your pet microchipped, if possible)
Collar with Tags
Food & Treats
Playing Cards |
Pen & Paper
Books & Puzzle Books
Toys & Games
Crafts & Projects
It’s impossible to prepare for every sort of disaster, but it IS possible to do something today.
Talk to your family.
Start making a plan.
Start building your kit.
Remember: doing something is better than doing nothing!
Come back next week for our final kit: the IDENTITY KIT
By the way, the following websites have loads of information about disaster preparedness:
Ready.gov (a part of FEMA)