In the event of an emergency or natural disaster our families and community should be prepared to be on our own for two weeks or longer. Neighborhoods need to be prepared for self-sufficiency, too. Volunteer neighborhood rescuers will likely be first on-the-scene when firefighters and police are slowed by impassable streets or overwhelmed by calls for help.
Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) are residents throughout the city who have been trained by Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods.
NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive. These volunteers are specially trained to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way. According to PBEM, NET members are:
- Prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks during any emergency.
- Able to provide emergency assistance to their family and immediate neighbors.
- Able to work within an emergency response team to save lives and property in their neighborhood.
- Able to guide untrained volunteers who want to help others during a disaster.
Get involved with your local NET by filling out this online form. If you are a member of the HR community and you get involved or are already involved with your NET, please leave a comment below to let us know.
HR Partnership with NETs
Holy Redeemer is in the boundaries of Piedmont’s NET team. Leaders of that team, Jay Moskovitz and Allie Flanary, have participated in the last two preparedness events we have hosted. Jay has visited our committee meetings – and we are open to more of that. We are looking for a member of the HR community to join the Piedmont NET team.
In December we hosted Laura Hall from Arbor Lodge’s NET team to help us think about how to prepare as a school community.
PublicAlerts sends urgent safety messages (i.e., stay inside, evacuate, boil water, etc.) to:
- Landline phones
- Mobile phones (voice and text)
- To receive messages you must register at PublicAlerts.org.
PublicAlerts is one of many tools Portland Bureau of Emergency Management uses to notify you. It’s not activated in all situations. Depending on the incident, safety information is also provided through:
- TV, radio, newspapers (print and online)
- Twitter and Facebook
- The PublicAlerts.org website
- The Emergency Alert System (EAS) on TV and radio
- Wireless Emergency Alerts (WEA) on most mobile phones.
In any situation, if you smell gas, leave your house on foot and call NW Natural’s emergency line at 1-800-882-3377.
Natural gas can be hazardous in several contexts. Lourdes came to the Prepare Fair to talk to us about how to be as safe as possible during the following situations: earthquakes, carbon monoxide poisoning, and floods.
Get your home ready for an earthquake by taking the following steps:
- Secure any appliances that use natural gas (like your water heater and furnace) to minimize movement during an earthquake.
- Replace semi-rigid gas connectors with flexible connectors.
- Keep combustible materials (like paint, oil, and rags) away from your furnace and water heater.
- Contact a qualified, licensed contractor to install an earthquake shut-off valve – equipment that senses ground movement or shaking, and shuts off the flow of gas automatically.
After an earthquake:
- Make sure that no flammable items have fallen or spilled near natural gas appliances.
- If you smell or hear natural gas, call the NW Natural emergency line at 800-882-3377.
- If possible, turn off your gas – if you’ve already turned it off, leave it off. Call NW Natural to have your service restored. Note that everyone else is in the same boat so it will take awhile for someone to restore your service.
- If you’ve installed an earthquake shut-off valve, call NW Natural to have a contractor come to reset the valve and relight your natural gas appliances.
Carbon Monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is a gas that’s odorless, poisonous, and potentially fatal. If gas equipment fails, it may cause the natural gas to burn improperly, resulting in the production of carbon monoxide.
(Normally, natural gas is nontoxic and produces only heat, carbon dioxide (CO2) and water vapor.)
Carbon monoxide may be indicated when :
- There is a yellow flame (normally the flame is blue)
- You smell combustion odors and see soot around the front of the appliance.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, do the following:
- Schedule an annual equipment inspection – NW Natural offers this service at no additional charge to its customers – call 503-226-4214 (or see the Customer Service section of NW Natural’s website).
- Install vents and chimneys properly, and inspect them regularly for improper connections, visible rust, and stains.
- Keep chimneys and vents free of debris such as leaves, creosite, and animal nests.
- Install and properly maintain a UL-approved carbon monoxide detector, which can alert you when a certain level of CO is in the air. A CO detector does not replace proper appliance maintenance. NW Natural says to contact the Oregon fire marshal’s office for information regarding proper placement, testing, and maintenance of CO detectors.
Thank you for participating in the event! We had a great turnout and our tabling organizations were busy the whole night!
For the benefit of all, I’m going to blog about each organization that tabled, so look for the tag “Prepare Fair 2018” in case you missed a table (or weren’t able to participate in the event).
Please join us in the cafeteria (Large Hall), Wednesday, Oct. 10, 6:30-8:30 pm where you can meet with experts from across the city to learn more about emergency preparedness, earthquake science, and the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Children are welcome!