On June 2, 2012 Resilience PDX had their first emergency preparedness expo. I will give a quick background for those that don’t know. A gentleman by the name of Arif Khan ,who manages disaster relief overseas, thought it would be a great idea to bring different people/resources together. If you would like to learn more about the different organizations and people that helped bring this together I would invite you to visit their about page. There were a multitude of areas a person could visit. This article is focused on the classes I attended.
10:00am to 11:00am: They opened the event with a Key speaker; State Representative Lew Frederick. He talked about his connection to this neighborhood and living only 8 blocks away. He knew firsthand the devastation that comes from an unprepared community. He had a family home in New Orleans that was washed away during the levee break. His son lived through the Japanese quake; he told us that his son could feel the shaking from Tokyo. He talked about the concerns that are schools are not ready for the “big one.” He suggested that we start communicating with our neighbors, visiting beauty salons, and at the very least try to get prepared once a week or month.
11:00 am to 12:00pm: Terra Firma Planning. This is a group of master students at Portland State University (my old stomping grounds). Their goal was to improve the emergency preparedness of North/North East Portland. One focus was on technology and uses of social media to connect people. One option being; Crowd mapping, which is a software tool linking resources together. Crowd mapping takes different resources (people, classes) and puts it on one map for others to explore.
12:00 pm to 1:00pm: Volunteers in Disaster. Scott Reuter from ORVOAD (Oregon Volunteers Active in Disasters) discussed the program. After FEMA and Red Cross finish their duties; there remains 20% of the population with critical unmet needs and ORVOAD comes in to help. These are mostly faith based organizations that focus on one area. These cases can take a long time to resolve. Astoria had their wind damage about five years ago, and only now are the closing the last case.
1:00 pm to 2:00 pm: “The Importance of Personal Resilience”, by James Roddey. For those of you that don’t know, Mr. Roddey is well known in the disaster preparedness field in connection with Cascadia Subduction Zone. Without question he knows how to give a presentation. Power point, humor, and reality were infused into his speech. Some of the biggest psychological factors we need to overcome are:
- We don’t want to think about it.
- Someone will save us.
- Nothing I can do.
- I’m too busy.
He talked about how some scientists believe we are in the midst of a cluster of mega-quakes.
2:00 pm to 3:00pm: These last two classes were of great interest to me. Jeremy O’Leary talked about herb and plant remedies. He brought a handful of plants from his garden and greenhouse. This type of medicine is thousands of years old. The plants and herbs around us hold the key to our ailment. He brings up two great points when dealing with plants. When you need a doctor, go to a doctor and “when in doubt, DON’T.” Knowledge truly is power when it comes to natural remedies.
3:00 pm to 4:00pm: The last class was urban foraging by Rebecca Lerner. She runs the website, First Ways.com, which focuses on plants that can be found around Portland. It was amazing to start to understand how many plants are nearby that can be useful in everyday living. She would talk about the many uses of the plant and then invite us to try them. She holds a class once a month that last three hours. This is one class I would love to take.
4:00 pm to 5:00 pm: The last hours was a rap up and look forward to how Portland Emergency Management can help citizens. The bottom line is that they can only do so much, in the end it is up to community to take care of themselves. They can provide maps, resources and various tools, but they can’t hold your hand. They can’t force you to be resourceful, that is up to each one of us.
Did you attend and what are your thoughts?