[Posted March 26, 2021]
Contributed by Robin Jensen and Patrick Pangburn for Hillsdale NET
This is the third in a series of articles brought to you by the Hillsdale Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) and the Hillsdale News. To read earlier installments, click here.
The articles will help you prepare your family and our community for a major natural disaster, as well as share information on Hillsdale NET and what it does. We hope you will stay tuned over the coming months and that you find the content helpful and informative.
Different types of cache
Depending on your circumstances, there are a few different types of cache that you may want to prepare:
immediate life safety or "under-the-bed" cache
evacuation cache or "go bag"
Other caches: workplace cache, vehicle cache
If you have already read the previous two articles on disaster preparedness you may have made an inventory of items in your home to see what you already have and what you may need to purchase for your home disaster cache. This cache will help you remain self-sufficient in your home for an extended time. Not every family needs all items on the list. You may have already started to gather items for your home cache and found a good storage place for it.
Immediate life safety cache
You may have started pulling together your immediate life safety cache, also known as the "under-the-bed" cache. If there is damage to your home with fallen articles or broken glass, access this cache to keep yourself safe while you look over your property and decide whether or not you can remain safely in your home or if you need to evacuate.
This kit consists of a pair of sturdy boots or shoes, a flashlight and batteries, heavy work gloves, a warm jacket, a whistle, energy bars, a hardhat or bike helmet, a dust mask and a bottle of water. Every member of your household should have their own under-the-bed cache.
In the event you need to evacuate immediately and do not have time to reach any of your additional caches, the under-the-bed cache will allow you to flee a dangerous situation safely and to remain safe until help arrives.
When your primary home cache is complete (even if just on paper for now) ask yourself the question: “What is in this cache that would I pick up and take with me if my home were unsafe and I had to evacuate?” This is your evacuation cache or "go bag." Most people use a backpack for the evacuation cache. Be certain it is something you can safely carry.
If your home is damaged following a major earthquake, access your under-the-bed cache and don your safety equipment. Assure that all occupants of your home are safe. Evaluate your home for damage. If your home is unsafe but you are not in immediate danger from falling debris, fire, or flood, prepare to evacuate, grab your evacuation cache and go.
Other caches as needed
Your workplace cache may be as simple as a flashlight and batteries, sturdy shoes, a whistle and bottled water. Your vehicle cache may include 2-3 days of food and water, flashlight and batteries, a blanket, a first aid kit and flares. You might add more items to your vehicle cache if you are someone likely to render first aid or assistance to fellow motorists.
Remember to inventory and mark your calendar with a reminder to replace outdated supplies once a year, possibly as a family activity.
Watch for more articles here on your cache as well as on water and food storage, medications and management of human waste. These will provide additional information that will be useful as you build your cache.
To learn more about the NET program or sign up for NET training, visit the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management NET website. There are also many auxiliary volunteer opportunities available with our Hillsdale NET team. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can help.
How did you fare in the February power outage? Did you discover ways to improve your emergency preparedness? Let us know