Prepare to prepare: Get ready for seismic event with help from

The phrase “text first, call later” joins “Drop, Cover and Hold On” as a new Catchphrase For Readiness.

The folks at have coined the phrase as one key point to remember in times of emergency: When seconds count, it is best to communicate with family, friends and co-workers via text prior to, or instead of, making a phone call.

Saturday is the Great Shakeout, a worldwide event to call attention to earthquake preparedness.

On the site you will find many resources such as drill manuals, preparedness guides for people with disabilities, and other earthquake safety tips.

The Pacific Northwest is due for a 9.0 magnitude quake along the Cascadia subduction zone — as early as the next 50 years. According to a recent resiliency report by the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission, also known as the Earthquake Commission, such an earthquake would devastate much of western Oregon. Buildings would crumble; bridges would fall; and thousands of people would die. Oregon would be looking at $32 billion in economic losses.

The ShakeOut Drill is scheduled for 10:17 a.m. on Oct. 17. This means that wherever you are at that moment — at home, at work, at school, anywhere — you should Drop, Cover, and Hold On as if there were a major earthquake occurring at that very moment, and stay in this position for at least 60 seconds. There will not be any freeway closures, power outages, or other simulated effects of the hypothetical earthquake, unless your local government or utility company specifically notifies you about something of this nature. The ShakeOut is not something you need to leave work to participate in — in fact, participating at work is encouraged.

Businesses, organizations, schools, and government agencies can register and have their employees practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On or have a more extensive emergency drill.

The main goal of the ShakeOut is to get Oregonians prepared for major earthquakes. Visit for tips on how to prepare, protect and recover.

Even if the Gorge is less affected by a drastic seismic event, it is important to know about what it takes to prepare because Interstate 84 and Highway 35 may become critical transportation lifelines to the Portland metropolitan area in case of heavy damage there.

The details found in take us beyond the “72 hours’ worth of canned food, water and batteries” plan. And preparing for a worst-case scenario such as an earthquake puts the average home or business on good footing, pardon the pun, for power outages caused by floods and snowstorms, events that should reasonably be expected to visit us this winter.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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