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The Dirt | Emergency Preparedness Tips #7

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Whether it’s an ice storm, a wildfire, or another natural disaster, volunteers from Benton County Community Emergency Response Team (BCCERT) have been trained to help their neighbors respond. Pam Wilson is a retired teacher and a trained BCCERT member who has created this blog post series to help Benton County residents prepare for emergencies. This is the seventh installment.

I recently taught two nights of review for Benton County CERT, then we conducted a final exercise (FinEX) for county residents who have completed their CERT/FEMA course work. We practiced cribbing, searching buildings for survivors, and setting up medical triage. At the day’s end, we added 14 trained people to the county cadre. I was impressed with the people and their willingness to volunteer.

As I adapt to new life situations, ideas and concerns have come from friends and colleagues with questions and comments. So I would like to write about things happening around us that have to do with overall emergency preparedness in this post.

  1. Oregon Resilience Plan – At the FinEx (Final Exercise), a colleague asked if I’d read the Oregon Resilience Plan. He said if you want to know about Oregon and earthquakes – this is the document. At 341 pages, just its size, makes it THE document. Since the earthquake is probably the one disaster, if survived, means we live in what remains of our homes, for months if not years, you might want to take a look at it. Seems like a document to read since Alaska experienced an 8.2 quake at 23:15 on July 28; there have been hundreds of aftershocks with possible tsunami warnings. Just when I want to lighten up, a major earthquake in the Pacific North West.
  2. – You may have received notice or heard that is up and running. You do not have to register for this system if you are already registered with Linn-Benton Alert. The systems merge and you will still receive county alerts as well as any Oregon alerts which affect you. If you are not registered with Linn-Benton Alert, text your zip code to 888777 or go to to register.
  3. Equipment Checks – I was teaching my grandchildren how to use a manual pump to remove water from a 33 gallon container into one we could lift. Last year I had to replace the plastic tubing with a used CPAP rubber hose because the plastic hose crumbled into a hundred shards when I touched it. On Wednesday, my grandson was priming the pump when it sheared off in his hand. So, a new manual pump is ordered and I will store this one where it is not as apt to experience extremes in temperature. A reminder, maybe it is time to check equipment and make sure it is in working order rather have it fail in the midst of some event.
  4. Restock Emergency Food Supplies – Starting to use up foods expired or close to expiring. My experience is that some foods I thought I liked, I no longer like. Some foods I thought would be good for emergencies taste awful. And my garden is pretty much gone – I could not keep it watered by myself, then the deer and rabbits ate their way through it. I will spend a lot of money buying things to preserve for the winter that I normally grow. Life’s lessons, huh?
  5. Medical Alert Bracelets – And lastly, thought I would share a purchasing experience I’m in the midst of. I usually wear a Medic-Alert bracelet but my last one wore off in the years of wearing. I also need to have something that will protect me if I fall (I have been known to do that). After days of research and hours on the computer plus talking to anyone who would talk to me, I finally ordered an Apple Watch for the fall protection after I talked with the Medic Alert Foundation about their new stainless steel sleeve that slips over an Apple Watch band. The sleeve contains the basic medic-alert situations, my medic alert number and the telephone number where EMT can get all the pertinent information they need 365 days a year/24-7. The sleeve is less than $30.00. I really like the idea of one item able to do several functions. If you need a medical alert bracelet/necklace with the ability to be updated as needed, look at website.

In the next post, I’ll be looking at fireproofing our homes. It’s August neighbors. It’s hot. On the way to Albany today, there was evidence of a fire at the intersection of Independence Highway and Camp Adair Road, sobering to see blackened fields right there. Be careful out there.