BEECN is Portland’s home-grown Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node network, with 50 nodes placed strategically throughout the city.
Developed and launched by Portland Bureau of Emergency Management in 2012 at the behest of Mayor Sam Adams, the nodes will convene volunteers 24-48 hours after an earthquake that knocks out other means of communication through the city.
The BEECN volunteers will operate license-free handheld radios at parks, and in the parking lots of schools and churches.
These volunteers will communicate with other BEECN volunteers at local fire stations, who will in turn relay messages to the Emergency Coordination Center — where, ostensibly, damage assessment will be underway and help will be standing by to respond to the areas of the city most damaged.
Importantly, reunification of people is not the purpose behind the BEECN nodes, although messages can be left on white boards at BEECN sites.
The nodes are limited to 50 throughout the city, to prevent an overwhelmed radio traffic system. And the locations have been carefully chosen for location, and lack of trees/electric wires (which may fall during an earthquake and make convening impossible).
To learn more and volunteer with BEECN, visit the BEECN page on the Bureau of Emergency Management’s website.
Finally, because it’s estimated that for most of us, help will not arrive for weeks after a large-scale disaster like the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, it’s really important to be prepared. Water – a gallon per person per day, prescription medications, and other supplies are crucial to prepare.
See the links on the side of this website for more information, and join us at events throughout the school year to get your family prepared.
Here is a video introduction to BEECN.