Getting prepared for a natural disaster

Medford, Ore. —  September is ‘National Preparedness Month’ – the theme for the campaign is ‘Disasters don’t plan ahead. But you can.’ That’s exactly what local emergency crews are emphasizing as well.

“What are you going to do if you can’t get home from whenever you are? If you’re stuck at home and you can’t leave, can you shelter in place,” said Larry Masterman, Medford’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

These are the questions Medford’s emergency management coordinator said you need to start talking about now, to be prepared in case of an emergency.

“Everybody should have a plan, a kit, and a way to communicate,” Masterman said.

Masterman said each emergency kit should have necessities like drinking water, blankets, a flashlight and batteries, extra clothes and jackets, a first aid kit, and non-perishable food. He recommended it should be enough to last you 14 days. Some other items you may want to consider in your kit – an AM/FM radio, food for pets, and medications.

“We don’t get them often, but when we do – they’re big,” he said.

The Rogue Valley is around 100 miles from the Cascadia Subduction Zone – the fault line that runs from British Columbia to northern California.

“The last big earthquake on that fault line was in 1700 and it was a magnitude 9 earthquake,” he said.

And we’re due for another massive one.

“Odds are – 37% chance that another one of those will happen in the next 50 years,” he said.

Masterman said the public needs to know how to protect themselves – should another earthquake occur.

“Don’t go with all the rumors. We don’t hide in doorways anymore, we don’t run outside,” he said.

If you’re caught indoors during an earthquake, officials said to follow the rules many learned in elementary school. Find cover – like a table – grab hold, and do your best to cover your head and neck. This way, if anything falls from the ceiling – you have a secure barrier to protect you.

“Once the shaking stops, assess yourself – are you injured? Assess your surroundings – are you safe where you are or do you need to get out,” he said.

Masterman said the most important thing to keep your family safe – start the conversation, and though emergency can be frightening to think about – talking about it doesn’t have to be.

“Make it interesting and fun and engaging. If you raise your family so that a storm or whatever doesn’t generate panic, but it’s – oh hey, cool, this is interesting – let’s figure out what to do. You can make it an adventure instead of an emergency,” he said.

Medford Fire-Rescue will be hosting its annual Rogue Valley Preparedness and Safety Fair on Saturday, Sept. 16, at the Rogue Valley Mall.  The event is free and family friendly. You can talk to emergency crews and even win prizes to start up your own emergency kit.

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