Oregon Emergency Management received the Citizen Corps Honorable Mention Award for Individual and Community Preparedness for a project that placed emergency backpacks in Oregon coastal counties. The backpacks contain emergency blankets, flashlights, and basic first aid supplies to be used in a disaster.
"I've worked on the Cascadia Subduction Zone catastrophic response plan and know that counties need assistance in caring for survivors in the event of a disaster," said Chuck Perino, Emergency Management Planner for Oregon Emergency Management. "It's great to be able to provide them something tangible to use."
Experts predict there is a 37% chance of large Cascadia Zone earthquake in Oregon within the next 50 years. Oregon is located in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, a 600 mile long earthquake fault stretching from offshore northern California to southern British Columbia.
"We know Oregon is at risk for a major earthquake," said Martin Plotner, Director, Oregon Military Department's Office of Emergency Management. "This award brings to attention all of the hard work our staff at the Office of Emergency Management has done to make sure residents in Oregon are prepared," said Plotner.
When a disaster strikes experts warn you need to be able to survive for at least 72 hours on your own, in some cases it may take even longer for help to arrive.
"You may not be at home when a disaster occurs," said Althea Rizzo, Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management. "You will want the supplies because you may be camping for a few days as you make your way home," added Rizzo.
The State Citizen Corps Advisory council is made up of five citizen corps programs including Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), fire corps, volunteers in police service, medical reserve corps and neighborhood watch. A total of 90 backpacks will be distributed to CERT and Fire Corps programs in the coastal counties.
Funding for the project came through the Homeland Security Grant program dedicated to the Citizen Corps Program. The mission of Citizen Corps is aimed at equipping communities to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.