Preparing For A Disaster - One Item At A Time

Sep 19, 2018

American Red Cross volunteer Al LePage says don't get overwhelmed by preparing for an emergency.
Credit Angela Kellner / KLCC

Disaster can strike at any time…and how you fare could all come down to how prepared you are. The City of Eugene Wednesday hosted an emergency preparedness fair in downtown Eugene.

About a dozen vendors and non-profits handed out information and spoke with residents about everything from retrofitting your home for an earthquake to having enough water and food to survive for at least two weeks. Zak Otjen is with Northwest Fork, based in Roseburg. His company sells a 30-day supply of dehydrated foods that are vegan, kosher and non-GMO.

Zak Otjen is with Northwest Fork Emergency Food Supply in Roseburg.
Credit Angela Kellner / KLCC

“We saw a need in the emergency preparedness market that there were a lot of people that wanted to prep but had certain dietary restrictions. And a lot of those other emergency food supplies have a lot of preservatives, a lot of additives in there to give them that way long shelf life like 25-30 years. Ours is a 10 year shelf life. You should really rotate your food supply every 5 years.”

It can seem overwhelming to think about trying to fend for yourself for a minimum of two weeks after a natural disaster.
Surviving an emergency can all come down to being prepared. Al LePage is with the Southwest Oregon Chapter of the American Red Cross in Eugene. He says everyone in the home – even pets – need at least two weeks of food, water, medicine and a way to keep warm in the winter – or cool in the summer.

He recommends using the checklist the Red Cross provides and start by gathering things you already own.

“A lot of people are outdoor-adventure oriented so they have things already in their homes that can really work to help you shelter at home in place like sleeping bags. Or if you couldn’t stay in your house, maybe like tents, coolers, and water containers, first aid supplies.”

LePage adds there’s another crucial piece of equipment to have in your emergency kit.

“One of the most important items that people leave out of a go kit is a self-powered radio. They can be hand-crank, they can be solar power, they can be battery powered. But self-power is important because if we have that big earthquake, the cell towers may be knocked over, they may not be working correctly, they may run out of energy after time, the cell phones might not work. So it’s good to have that radio cuz it’ll be your only communication with the outside world.”

He says to practice your emergency plan especially if you have kids so everyone knows what to do when disaster strikes.