The Big One: Strength in Community – Preparing Together
Session 3, January 25, 2017
Presented by Skyline Grange and Skyline Ridge Neighbors
Summary notes prepared by Rachael Brake and Peggy Lindquist
Jeremy Van Keuren – NET Coordinator, City of Portland:
NET program (Neighborhood Emergency Teams) is administered by the City of Portland, Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM). PBEM is a service bureau providing mostly internal services to other City bureaus, but they also do two external programs: Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NET) and BEECN (Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node). PBEM used to be part of the City of Portland Fire Bureau but is now a separate bureau with an emergency coordination center on 99th and SE Powell.
NET is a volunteer Community Emergency Response Team (CERT). CERT was created in 1985 after a major earthquake in Mexico City where it was observed that volunteers were able to save citizen lives but some volunteer lives were lost due to lack of training. CERT was started in Los Angeles, CA and picked up by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The CERT program is based on observations of the Japanese system of emergency management. Portland was the third CERT formed in the country. As Portland’s Fire Bureau uses the CERT acronym, the NET name was given to the volunteer organization.
About 92-98% of people rescued in a disaster are rescued by their neighbors. We can empower ourselves and our community to help ourselves in a disaster. The types of emergencies experienced in Portland include floods, fires, toxic spills, snow, ice, gas explosions and earthquakes.
Portland Fire and Rescue does the NET training. Volunteers learn:
- How to conduct search and rescue
- How to perform medical triage
- How to shut off utilities
- Radio communication
- Team organization
Training is 30 hours; 25 hours of classroom instruction and 5 hours in the field for practical experience. Training is free of charge but individuals are required to purchase their own tools and supplies. Once training is completed, volunteers are expected to give back 12 hours/year to their NET team. Classes are conducted on three consecutive Saturdays. If you miss one of the three classes, you can make it up when the classes are offered again, but you cannot be certified until you have completed all of the classes and the field work. The field work is scheduled separately from the classroom work.
NET teams work together to create an operational plan (how they will communicate and work together) specific to their neighborhood/team. Once an individual has completed NET training, he/she is eligible to take the advanced classes offered by PBEM, such as standard first aid, wilderness first aid and drone operations for disasters and to participate in a simulated disaster in which volunteers play wounded victims and NET volunteers are sent in to do search and rescue exercises. Radio operators can be certified as such without the full 30 hours of training if someone who cannot become a full NET member still wants to be involved. There are fees/charges for the all of these advanced classes.
NET teams are deployed using a “reverse 911” call system. The NET coordinator is able to identify NET teams/members by area and a robocall goes out to the appropriate team members. NET teams augment the agency in charge of a given situation. Operational plans are a necessity for these deployments. Members do have the option to decline a deployment if necessary.
Online registration is via the website: https://www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem/31667. After online registration is submitted, applicants will receive an email confirmation along with a link to 17 prerequisite videos. Viewing time for the videos is about 2 hours. At the same time, PBEM will be conducting a criminal background check on each individual. After both of those are completed, applicants receive another email with available class information. Right now, there is a backlog of about 1,300 applicants. The next scheduled classes start 29 April at Benson High School. PBEM intends to include about 500 applicants in that session. Those 500 will be divided up into much smaller classes for the training. Another session will be conducted in the fall.
The closest NET team to our neighborhood is Northwest Heights, but forming another team located in our neighborhood is possible given adequate interest and participation from community members. Although NET was created for residents that live or work in the City of Portland, the City will work with our community.
Another helpful link: http://portlandnet.tumblr.com/. This is the NET Coordinator’s “File Cabinet”. The Menu tab will allow you to browse topics.
Another link: https://portlandprepares.org/. This link provides information for NET teams.
Oregon Resilience Plan: http://www.oregon.gov/oem/Documents/Oregon_Resilience_Plan_Executive_Summary.pdf
This document provides an overview of a large study of a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami that was mandated by the State of Oregon. The City of Portland recommends that households be prepared to be without utilities or services for at least two weeks, but this plan indicate much longer durations for getting things back to “normal”. This document also talks about the fuel storage/processing facilities in Linnton, OR. Located on known liquefiable soils, these facilities store/process 90% of the liquid fuels for the region.
Claudia Steiner-Fricker – Deputy Supervisor of Programs, Beaverton CERT
The majority of people do survive a disaster. The challenge is what you do next. There is a difference between a disaster and an emergency. In an emergency, you can call someone for help. In a disaster, no one will be coming to your aid. That makes you and your neighbors “first responders”.
The Beaverton CERT program has 467 active and reserved CERT members, 53 members of CERT Radio who are not CERT members, 6 amateur radio operators, 16 community outreach volunteers and a school reunification team. The Beaverton CERT motto is “Big or Small, Prepare for Them All”.
Map Your Neighborhood (MYN) is a tool used to meet the needs of the community. It was used effectively in the Loma Prieta. CA earthquake. The process inventories the skills, resources and equipment in your neighborhood (who has what, who knows what and who can do what), creates a neighborhood map with homes and other features, identifies those who may need help and creates a phone/contact list. Neighborhoods that are prepared are better able to save lives and property. Implementation of MYN is easy; get together with up to 20 of your neighbors, watch the MYN program DVD, learn the 9 steps to take immediately following a disaster and make a few important decisions together. Start creating your map.
Skills to inventory:
- First aid knowledge
- Search and rescue knowledge
- Plumbing knowledge
- Fire fighting knowledge
- Elder care skills
- Coordinating and organizing skills
Equipment to inventory:
- First aid supplies
- Tents/spare bedding
- Chain saws
- Camp stoves
The nine steps for CERT responders:
1. Take care of yourself and your family
2. Protect your head, feet and hands. Store a hardhat, sturdy shoes, leather gloves and a flashlight under your bed for quick access.
3. Check natural gas or propane connections. Prevent fires by turning off gas or propane. Learn how to turn them off ahead of time (1/4 turn of rectangular knob to horizontal). Keep a wrench tied to the valve. Although this may not apply to many residents in this neighborhood, it’s an essential step in many cases.
4. Shut off water at the house main to keep pollutants from entering your system. Wells will be vulnerable as well as the public water system. Use safe water sources such as stored water, hot water heater, toilet tank.
5. Put out either the “OK” or “HELP” sign from the MYN booklet where your neighbors can see it.
6. Put your fire extinguisher in a place accessible to your neighbors (sidewalk in an urban situation or your front yard in a rural situation). You should only use a home fire extinguisher for SMALL fires. Learn how to use one properly.
7. Go to the neighborhood gathering site that you selected in your first neighborhood meeting.
8. Form teams at the gathering site; team functions would include monitoring communications, checking on neighbors, disabled and minors. Always operate in pairs!
9. Return to the neighborhood gathering site to report on what you found.
Next steps/things to think about:
- Sanitation. Without water/plumbing, sanitation will be an issue. Alternatives must be considered and implemented.
- Medical care. Plan for medical needs with trauma kits and first aid supplies.
- Extra supplies. Plan for storage of supplies such as food/clothing/shelter.
Preparedness is a matter of choice. What role do you want to play in the next emergency? Victim (a person who suffers from a destructive or injurious action), survivor (a person who continues to function or prosper in spite of opposition, hardship or setbacks) or partner (a person who shares or is associated with another in some action or endeavor)? To be a partner you need to get involved, get training. Learn First Aid/CPR, learn about home safety/fire safety, become an amateur radio operator, take Red Cross courses, get CERT or NET training.
For MYN supplies, you can contact Sharon Gray at Washington County, Sharon.gray@co.Washington.or.us or 503-846-7580. Tell Sharon you took the MYN training from Beaverton CERT. Or contact Claudia Steiner-Fricker at firstname.lastname@example.org or 503-608-9735. Claudia oversees Beaverton’s CERT medical team, training, outreach, radios and MYN.
Skyline Grange is in contact with both Sharon and Claudia and is arranging to get MYN supplies for the neighborhood. Everyone who signed in at this session is considered to be MYN trained. Please contact Rachael Brake at email@example.com or 503-621-3423 if you attended but did not sign in.