February 2019 Disaster Preparedness Checklist: Scoping out the Neighborhood

February 2019 Disaster Preparedness Checklist: Scoping out the Neighborhood

From our Disaster Preparedness Program coordinator Sheryl Gerety (sheryl.gerety@gmail.com): a monthly, seasonally appropriate checklist page to help us tackle preparing for a disaster in manageable steps.

Where do you live, or work, or send kids to school? In the wake of the 2018 fire season, it is worth refreshing our plans and preparations for evacuation while pulling out an imaginary stopwatch — we won’t always have days or hours to prepare. Coordinating our plans with extended family, friends and neighbors is a high priority.

The first reading listed at the end of this checklist was commissioned by the US National Forest Service to chart and rate community risk of wildfire. The technical language of the paper is paired with charts accessible to lay readers. The companion article from the Mail Tribune amplifies the results of the study.

We know and understand our environment

  • Tens of thousands of homes in Oregon are at moderate to high risk of wildfire
  • Existing road systems may be inadequate to rapidly evacuate households outside of town: grooming road shoulders free of dry grasses and trees reduces the amount of burning material in the air about traffic evacuating the path of the fire
  • County funding may be insufficient to support sheriffs’ offices, emergency response teams to warn households, direct traffic, provide security: volunteers such as CERT may be available for deployment by county and city emergency management
  • Costs of fire insurance for structures outside of city fire districts is rising: increasing the pool of the insured by buying that premium is a means of slowing or reversing the trend toward higher premiums
  • Seniors and low income residents are vulnerable

We have a plan

  • We have alert systems that we monitor without complaisance during fire season
  • We have memorized an evacuation route and an alternate route with a 90*-180* different heading on the compass
  • We know with certainty where and how to reunite with other household members
  • We have at least a 1/2 tank of gas in each vehicle throughout fire season
  • We have readily available crates, leashes or harnesses for each pet, their food and water, proof of vaccinations taped to the crates
  • We have coordinated with neighbors who need transportation
  • We locate the nearest shelter, stopping there first for reliable information
  • We know our financial constraints realizing we may not have jobs to return to, let alone homes

We know our options for shelter

  • Red Cross and similar free shelters near the disaster area
  • Relatives outside the disaster area
  • Hotels and B&Bs, particularly if they will discount for disaster relief, let us spend accumulated points

What we are reading:

Exposure of human communities to wildfire in the Pacific Northwest

Burn Notice: Thousands of local homes at risk

Diocese of Oregon Disaster Preparedness Contacts:

Sheryl Gerety sheryl.gerety@gmail.com
Annette Rankin arrmft@gmail.com
Episcopal Relief and Development
Episcopal Asset Map