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Being prepared

From wildfires to power outages, responding to emergencies always goes more smoothly when you plan for the unexpected.

Where to meet

When you have a family, the first step to being prepared for any unplanned event is to have a meeting place. This can be a challenge when you have young children that don’t drive, but the adults and driving teens can be designated to get younger children from school or activities if there is an emergency. Choose both primary and secondary meet-up destinations, and make sure everyone knows what they are.

Heat & eat

Even in late spring, the Mid-Willamette Valley can be cold at night. Depending on the situation, a family should be prepared for heating and eating needs for about two weeks. Many families will need a plan to heat a few rooms without power, such as with a gen-erator or fireplace. Following safety practices is key when using alternative heating sources such as these.


After the need for shelter and heat have been met, the next important task is making sure there is adequate food and water for the group. Storing water is a good short term measure, but takes a lot of space and the supply can ultimately expire. A more tactical solution is to keep tablets on hand to make any water potable. These tablets are easily attained online or in most sporting goods stores, and eliminate the need for filling one’s garage with water jugs.


It’s a good idea to keep some form of food storage relative to your pantry space and size of family. Canned goods such as tuna are great because they do not require cooking. If you’re a coffee or tea drinker, remember to add that to your cache. Meals-ready-to-eat (MREs) and freeze dried foods have a long shelf life, but require water and heat to consume, which should be considered.

If you choose to keep canned goods on hand for emergencies, rotate them out every year so that they do not expire. If the power is out, consider eating refrigerated and frozen food first (but keep the opening and closing of the fridge and freezer doors to a minimum to prolong safe tempera-tures.) It’s also a good idea to have a camp stove or barbecue, including fuel or briquets, that can be used for cooking.


Prescription medication is often overlooked in emergency preparedness. You may need to talk to your doctor about ordering outside your regular routine in order for the pharmacy to allow it. A first aid kit is also essential to have on hand. If you or anyone in your family wears prescription eye-glasses or contact lenses, factor them into your plan.

Every family should have not only a plan and supplies in place to fend for themselves for a week or more, but also the expectation that they will most certainly need to do so at some point. Visit to learn more about emergency preparedness.


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