Senator Brian Boquist - Oregon
DATE: September 8, 2016 at
3:19:18 PM PDT
TO: City Mayors in Oregon
SUBJECT: LEGISLATIVE UPDATE
– EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS
Annual sessions has meant quarterly Legislative Days. The law says
after tomorrow, State Legislators cannot update or contact citizens via
email directly from their offices until after the General
Election. It is called a blackout period.
Given my September legislative days are dedicated to hearings on the
State's level of emergency preparedness, I am reaching out to all the
citizens in our outreach data base to update you now given the variety
or recent disasters, and our nation's lack of preparation.
Why you might ask? Simple. The State and Federal Government are
not prepared for a major catastrophic emergency in the Northwest.
We will likely never be prepared thus YOU and your Community must
prepare yourselves. Whether is a Cascadia earthquake, tsunami,
volcano, pandemic, terrorist attack, or grid overload does not
matter. In almost every single potential event, the power grid is
down for weeks if not months. Besides power outage it means
communications is out, your cell phone goes dead the first day, potable
water stops flowing, sewage is no longer pumped, there is no power to
pump fuel into any vehicles, there are no grocery stores, bridge
failures in many events will 'island' several million Oregonians for
multiple weeks if not months. Prepare for at least a month.
FYI, we have conducted drills again this past June along with increased
planning. This update is a result of those drills as key 'state and
federal' emergency management officials were clear that life and death
for many Oregonians may well rest upon individual and local
non-government community preparation. If you want a very good
read on the possible scenarios look no further than Ted Koppel's recent
book "Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the
Aftermath." The book and free summaries are available online.
How do you prepare? Many people say they cannot afford to prepare for
an emergency. Many people look at Red Cross and other lists then
revert back to the thought 'it is too expensive for me to be
prepared." That is the purpose of this email newsletter. If
you want a detailed perfect plan you can Google the "Red Cross" or
"FEMA" or a dozen webpages offering expensive solutions. Below I
will outline some economic imperfect solutions you should consider
since the 'government' will not be coming to rescue you at the
beginning of any major catastrophic event.
Most of you have a large quantity of items already. Think about it. The
minimum is you will need to stay dry & warm, drink water, eat food,
defecate, and stay sanitary to avoid disease. Yes, there are
other items like a flashlight, radio, good book, etc. but chances are
these already exist in your house, apartment or car.
STAY DRY AND WARM
Even in an earthquake, portions of your residence
many still be waterproof. You may already have a camping tent. If
you have a tent then you likely have a sleeping bag. If not, you
have bedding and blankets already. An extra blanket is $12.29
from Walmart online today. Remember you have extra cloths and
blankets that can be used both for warmth, and sanitation.
If you decide to leave your damaged home make sure you take items
to stay warm and dry. Also remember, the neighboring down may be
worse off than yours.
Medical professionals claim you need 9 to 15 cups of water
per day. There are 16 cups in a gallon. Most people drink
nowhere near even nine cups per day. On $5 Friday at Safeway it
is .89 cents per gallon of bottled water. In most of the above
emergencies you may have running water for a few minutes or hours or
better. THINK WATER immediately after the first trauma.
Fill the bathtub. Fill empty containers. Fill extra
bottles, buckets or cooking pans immediately if you do not have a cache
of water. It rains in Oregon. Put out a $2.97 Homer bucket
from Home Depot Homer in the rain worse comes to worse.
The biggest excuse for not preparing I hear is 'I cannot
afford any extra food." Usually, the person telling me this
excuse is standing next to their SUV with their $199, $299 or $399
iPhone in their hand. Sometimes with manicured nails or wearing a
$300 hunting jacket. Many preppers buy expensive long term
storage items. Oddly, some people will starve to death, in a
couple weeks simply because they do not like the taste of the
food. Yes, you should rotate food if at all possible. I
think some of you may detest places like the Dollar Tree, Family
Dollar, Dollar General, Waremart etc. while many of you are regular
shoppers. My walk through Dollar Tree last week was enlightening.
Even on SSI there are food items that can be bought, eaten and rotated
very inexpensively. Likewise, I saw 25 lbs of rice at places like
Costco, Walmart, United Grocers, and Waremart for around $15.00 in the
past two weeks. Add 24 bouillon cubes I saw online for
$1.58 gives you a start since both items have long shelf lives.
At this time a year, United Grocers (Cash & Carry) has 50 lbs of
potatoes for less than ten bucks. Likewise, 50 lbs of onions is
less than ten bucks too. I list onions as the British Navy, and
modern Third World armies, have stayed in the field living on onions
due to it's characteristics. All for ten bucks. Chances are
you already have salt and pepper in your cupboard. Worse case, a
24 pack of Cup'O'Noddles is $8.29 at Costco, or $9.95 online, plus
Walmart etc. Western Family has case sales every fall. Many
canned goods can be eaten straight from the can like pre-cooked corn,
beans, ravioli, etc. Yes, buy healthy if you can according to
doctors, but do not starve to death if you have to buy what you will
eat and can afford to store.
FOOD & WATER HEATING
Yes, was not on the list above. Yes,
you should boil unpure water if possible. Yes, at least some hot
food is the best plan for a month menu. Again, cost is always
raised. Amazon lists a one burner propane stove for $17.88 from
Coleman. Target is $16.99. Webstaurant Store is
$10.99. Fuel canisters average $3.47 for a canister or two for
$6.24. Your existing pots and pans will work just fine.
Walmart, Target (whom I dislike) or any sporting goods store has these
items. Your BBQ might be the answer too. Also, you already
have at least a few pots and pans already along with silverware most
likely. If 'expense' is the problem buy one item a month
until prepared. Again, plan for a month.
DEFECATE AND STAY SANITARY
Few talk about this issue oddly. In a
Cascadia event this failure will likely lead to disease and death much
larger than initial casualties. In non-modern Armies, this was
the leading case of death. Over 400,000 deaths in the Civil War
were disease related. Tens of millions died in World War II of
disease. Think about it, there will be no running water, no flush
toilets, no bathing water, and how will you stay clean. You may
have toilet paper but where are you going to defecate. If the
sewer is still connected it may be the bucket of rain water if you have
enough. Or you may need to dig a hole in the ground away from
your water source then designate it the place everyone in the family
uses to defecate. Use a bucket worse case. If not,
disease is likely to start, which, quickly leads to deaths later.
Clorox Handi Whips are $2.29 online at Jet.com. Staples has a
four packs of wipes for $6.00. Likewise, a bar of soap with a wet
towel can be used. Bleach is a must have on my list. Buck a
gallon at Dollar Tree. Bleach can be a miracle drug in stopping
disease in a disaster. In the Army, we said "if you take care of
your feet, your feet will take care of you."
In a long term power outage, you will need to stay clean by washing
even if by wet cloth. You will need to change clothes. In
the old days, people used the same set of work clothes for many days
then changed to cleaner non-work clothes at the end of the day.
You at least will need to be prepared to wash under garments such as
socks by hand. Let me remind you most the world population is
still washing clothes by hand. Note I did not talk about brushing
teeth and other routine items since you will have plenty of time to dig
through the potential rubble to find the tube of Crest along with your
GET AWAY BAGS
Emergency management professionals all recommend having
a small bag in your car or office for an emergency. This bag is
not a 'live all save all' bag in any manner. It is meant as a bag
to get you 'home' or to safety. The place you go will depend upon
where you are at the time of the event but you likely will be walking
so you are not going very far fast. And most roads will be closed
in any major catastrophic natural disaster. My wife has a ten
dollar backpack in her car. It is simple. Walking shoes,
jacket, sweat pants in case she was wearing a dress, large water
bottle, flashlight, and a few walking items. She keeps a few
snack bars and extra water in the car too.
Her plan is simple. Call home before the cell tower batteries or
generators die. Leave a message or tell whomever where she is at,
and she is walking home. The reasoning is simple too. Likely she
would be in Salem if a Cascadia earthquake happened. It is a 100
miles to anyplace in Eastern Oregon, which will be overwhelmed with
starving refugees after the four day walk, but it is 22 miles home to a
month supply of everything. If it is a power grid failure as
outlined in Ted Koppels' book, it would be 500 to 800 miles to anything
SAFETY AND SECURITY
After nearly four decades as a Special Forces
Officer, my experience tells me it is going to be very uncivilized in a
long term catastrophic event to say the least. If this issue is
concerning, my recommendation is to find a combat veteran you might
know to discuss this topic with you at length. With no due
disrespect, law enforcement is not the right place to seek answers as
they will be overwhelmed. Therefore, suggest to reach out to one
of Oregon's 325,000 veterans for suggestions on how to prepare for
safety and security in a catastrophic event.
My Legislative Update is not meant to alarm you, or provide anything
but suggestions on how you prepare for an emergency. IT IS MEANT FOR
YOU TO ACT.
In June 2016, a half dozen Legislators attended the most recent
national drill for catastrophic events for which Oregon
participated. Three of the most senior emergency response
officials from Oregon and the United States Government agreed on one
thing very loud and clear; individuals will be on their own for a very
long time, and survival of many will depend purely on local communities
Nobody should expect someone to arrive on their door step after a
catastrophic natural disaster or grid failure saying "I am here to help
you, I am from the government." You need to be prepared to take care of
yourself, your family and hopefully your neighbors for the first few
weeks or months.
Brian J. Boquist
Chairman - Veterans & Emergency Preparedness
Oregon State Senate
The proverbial horse has again been taken to the water; now, it is the
horse's responsibility to drink lest it dies of thirst.
Published on September
Updated on April 2, 2019
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