Emergency / Earthquake Response Commitment-- VAN is following in the footsteps of Mountain Justice by creating an Emergency Response Commitment. –
“Although we are not a trained emergency response organization, VAN volunteers wish to support fellow residents in their time of need. In the event of a disaster we will do our best to help affected residents with cleanup, recover, and public awareness.”
As a Mountain Justice volunteer, Matt Landon enacted this commitment during the TVA Coal Ash Disaster of Dec 22, 2008 in TN.
Today, 10-15-15, is International Earthquake Awareness Day and folks all over the world are ducking and covering as part of their earthquake planning process. While duck and cover is good there is so much more to do.
We have spent the last several months doing intensive internet research to learn about the various aspects of earthquakes and their aftermath. We can tell you that no one source has all of the answers and the majority of the government websites are sorely lacking in actually helpful information.
The Oregon Public Broadcasting Unprepared series does a pretty good job of laying bare Oregon's unpreparedness. This 1 hour video is sort of a condensed version.
If you watched this video then you learned that our modern Pacific North West Coast society is pretty much screwed and Bridgetown (Portland) will be in shambles for at least a year, probably longer. Are you willing and able to live for a year without piped water, electricity, and access to grocery stores or pharmacies?
The question then becomes to stay and help rebuild or to evacuate. Evacuation via car will be nearly impossible due to the failure of all of the bridges along i-5 and across the Willamette and Columbia Rivers. I have not found an app that routes you around all over passes, under passes, and bridges. Also there will be many landslides in the mountains and hills and liquefaction of soils near the rivers which means more destroyed roadways. The rivers aren't likely to be safe due to spillage of chemicals and sewage upstream and collapsed bridges. A motorcross motorcycle with knobby tires or a bicycle will likely be your best bets for getting around town. Here is a cool idea using cargo bicycles.
The only other alternative for evacuation is by air. I found Global Rescue which coordinates helicopter rescues during disasters. They are a bit expensive ($650-$1,200) per year per person but how much would you pay for a ride out of town following a once in a lifetime disaster? Even if you wanted to pay A LOT for a ticket you likely wouldn't be able to secure a seat. This insurance policy is a small price to pay when compared to the alternative. You will need to contact these folks to let them know you want to be evacuated.
Cellphones, landlines, and internet will likely not work.
So even if you decide that you will Mad Max it here in Portland for a year or more of rebuilding you will need to communicate with the outside world to let your friends and family know you are ok. All of the websites that we have read say that Ham Radio is the communication method of choice by governments and Ham Radio operators. Well you can have your Ham Radio, we're going with the Delorme Inreach 2 way satellite communicator. It costs $300, $20 activation fee, and $10 a month to keep it on with a few texts per month. Following a disaster an unlimited texting plan costs $60 a month and can be upgraded at any time. This little unit is able to provide 2 way text messaging, linking to a smart phone for easier typing, posting to a previously linked Facebook / Twitter account, and SOS rescue features. This unit is handy for solo hikers as well, though we don't think that anyone has currently used it for post disaster organizing.
Post Disaster Media Team
VAN will set up a volunteer Post Disaster Media Team with various volunteers using their Delorme Inreach communicators to help get word out to friends and family of neighbors and each other and to flood Facebook / Twitter social media with updates as well. After securing your family and then going door to door to immediate neighbors to check-in about gas leaks (so your neighborhood doesn't burn down) we would set up bulletin boards in existing parks which will already be functioning as gathering and distribution points following a disaster. People can write their messages and contacts onto sheets for “outgoing messages” on the outgoing message board, VAN volunteers then text it out and upon receiving a text response the information is posted onto the “incoming message” board. This way VAN volunteers will set up the only functioning disaster “post offices” that I have seen described yet.
We hope to have SW Portland and Vancouver covered by the end of the year (which means one Delorme Inreach unit in each area) so we are looking for volunteers across the greater Portland / Vancouver area to set up “post offices” as well.
While the government is spending days, weeks, or months trying to get communications back and running VAN volunteers will be providing real time updates from day 1. Yeah!
Portland Hazard Maps
Do you live or work somewhere that has been deemed as a hazardous location by the city of Portland? Please check the above maps to learn more.
Here is a list of earthquake prep items which we have been compiling--
***** CASH***** Keep at least $400 in twenties at all times
Important Docs-- Keep scanned on a flashdrive or hard copies of identification and financial documents including passports, birth certificates, marriage license, property deeds, social security cards, ect.
a) Flashlight – Energizer weather ready LED radio crank flashlight or similar crank flashlight radio combo- because batteries will die eventually, this radio picks up AM/FM, weather, and has a nice little annoying siren
b) leather gloves
c) dust masks, bicycle helmet or hard hat for head protection from falling debris
d) Sawyer Mini Water Filter (or other camping water filter) and several 2 liter soda bottles
e) bottled water- lots of bottled water/ at least 1 gallon a day per person for at least 3 weeks.
****Possible Alternative Drinking Water sources that should be filtered and or boiled before use- 1) Columbia Springs in Vancouver, WA, 2) Crystal Springs in Reed College SE Portland, OR, 3) Small springs that feed Tryon Creek (not the main stem of Tryon Creek!) in Tryon Creek State Park SW Portland, OR --- DO NOT drink ANY unfiltered water or even filtered water from the Willamette or Columbia Rivers. Always make sure to get your water from a point closest to the source where the water comes from the rocks or ground not downstream.
g) larger tarps
h) good quality rain gear
i) warm wool or synthetic clothes, hat, gloves
j) paper maps- Gazetteer Maps for Oregon and Washington and large scale maps of your city
k) hand trucks / dollies or cargo bikes
l) tie down straps, rope, and duct tape
l) tie down straps, rope, and duct tape
m) shovel / ax / maul /crowbar / bow saw
n) personal protection equipment
o) hand powered winch and accompanying nylon wench straps and heavy chains
p)electronics cords and chargers to use with a car- such as charging your cellphone / Delorme Inreach
q) car emergency jumper battery as a portable power source
r) solar panel and or bike powered generator
s) lots of clean 5 gallon buckets with lids
t) contractor trash bags
u) toilet paper, lots and lots of toilet paper, toiletries, toothbrushes / paste, soap- lots of soap, first aid kits
v) Food- long term shelf stable foods that contain lots of potential room for growth.
Go to Winco as they are employee owned and have the lowest prices on most food items, ½ gallon glass mason jars filled with listed food and oxygen absorbers which are stored in plastic 5 gallon buckets to protect from breakage, lentils / mung beans for sprouting- 1 pound of seeds produces 6-10 pounds of sprouts, Texturized Vegetable Protein (TVP)-soy based, white rice- its not as healthy but is more shelf stable than brown rice, fermented foods, canned foods and 2 can openers, also foods that you eat everyday, Jerusalem artichokes / sunchokes- make sure these are planted in something that will contain them but they take care of themselves and grow exponentially, mealworms- they almost take care of themselves and can be used as a possible protein source, plant fertilizer and they reproduce exponentially as well ****** FIRE starters********* stainless steel cooking pots / utensils
w) paper phone books- to know where stuff is located without the google
x) walkie talkies
z) hand powered siphon pump and gas can
****CASH***** Always try to have at least $400 in twenties at all times.
Secure heavy items in your home such as water heater, book shelves, cabinet doors, tv. Also secure your home to its foundation.
WikiHomes has some nice earthquake resistant building designs. Also cargo trailers or RV's could work as a dry home in a pinch if your home is unlivable.
The only bridges in Portland that are likely to survive are the new Trimet Orange Line bridge, the new unfinished Sellwood Bridge, and possibly the downtown i-5 bridge over the Willamette river (you can see the earthquake bridge retrofits when driving southbound) though the on ramps and soils supporting the on ramps and columns are not earthquake proofed, doh. Since downtown Portland is completely surrounded by bridges it appears that the only potential escape route is south under the i-5 bridge unless you don't mind walking over rubble.
The tank farm along Forest Park is toast which is bad news for anyone living in NW Portland or downstream or downwind.
Make sure you have sturdy shoes stashed beside your bed along with your gas turn off / water turn off wrench, flashlight, and crowbar or fireman's ax.
You need a bug out bag packed and ready to go at home and a get home bag packed and ready to go in your car and at work.
It is time that we faced that facts about the ground which we live upon here in the PNW. We wish you the best of luck with your life, activism, and disaster prepping. Feel free to call / text us if you have any questions or concerns or want to volunteer to be part of VAN's Post Disaster Media Team. Be safe out there, VAN volunteers