For 18 years, from the time I moved to the Pacific Northwest in 1997 until July 2015, I did not give a moment’s thought to the potential of a natural disaster happening to me, my family, my neighborhood, or my city.  I watched with some amusement as Seattle city buses passed by with service announcements asking, “Do you have your emergency kit prepared?” Being naïve or willfully stubborn I didn’t take the disaster potential seriously.  

In July 2015 I read the now famous New Yorker magazine article entitled The Really Big One (New Yorker July 2015) describing scenarios, based on historical information and factual data, of a natural  disaster awaiting the Pacific Northwest, maybe not today, next week, or even in our lifetimes, but at some ominous moment in our future. 

Well, that woke me up, so much so that I could hardly sleep for the next few nights thinking that we were all going to slip off the edge of the continent at any moment.

Preparation is the key to peace of mind.”

I began to take disaster preparedness seriously, and I hope readers will do the same for your sakes as well as your neighbors.  I started by signing up in the first training I could get to become a Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) member. The 24 hours of training we received taught me a great deal about preparing myself and my family for a disaster situation as well as giving me information that would help me to help my neighbors if/when such a situation occurred. 

The bottom line is that, being prepared with information, supplies, and a supportive community, we can lessen the impact and tragedy that a big natural disaster might bring upon us. Also, we will sleep better at night.

For now, neighbors, we of the Woodlawn/Vernon/Concordia NET team, along with other NET teams operating in the Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods, ask that you begin to think seriously about preparing yourselves and your families for what might come.  Preparation is the key to peace of mind now and ability to successfully cope with tough situations that might come our way.

We suggest that you start by taking a look at the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management NET site at Portland Prepares.  There you will find out where your local team is and get preparation information.  We plan to keep the conversation going on how we can help each other to survive “the big one” and maybe some of the smaller ones that may pop up from time to time.