County government preparing for the next emergency should serve as an example

If there is one important lesson that this community learned during the past half-month, major weather events or other disasters can strike suddenly and forcefully and leave those who are not prepared with a real crisis.

When the past snowstorms dumped two feet or more of snow on rural neighborhoods, people found themselves trapped at their homes hoping they had enough food, water, and medical supplies to last until they could either dig out themselves or until someone else came to their rescue.

Crook County also learned that preparation is key whether it's a snowstorm, flood or earthquake. While efforts begun more than a year earlier to prepare for disasters such as the Cascadia quake off of the Pacific Coast, the County Court felt compelled to take preparation a step further and will soon iron out the details of an emergency ordinance that will dictate what step the county government should take as well as how and when they should declare a state of emergency and enlist outside help from the state.

We wholeheartedly agree that the county should take these steps. Emergencies can allow chaos to reign supreme and when leaders don't know what to do, it leaves the people they are leading even more at a loss for what to do next.

Having said that, the development of a county emergency ordinance and plan for significant weather events and natural disasters is simply a good start, and while it will definitely help, this is one situation that requires preparation on the part of citizens as well. While government leaders can establish a formal plan that will provide them the proper leadership structure, equipment and personnel to step in and help during an emergency, it is not realistic nor fair to expect them to be able to take care of everybody right away. The people must also do their part and have a plan.

During the struggle faced by Juniper Acres residents, one resident spoke of a need to develop a plan among neighbors to keep each other supplied with food, medicine, water, gasoline for generators and more. We hope they get together and create a plan, and urge each residence to plan for the worst and store food, water and emergency supplies.

Knowing that the county does not maintain roads in rural subdivisions, neighbors without a formal plan should band together and develop a strategy to keep their streets maintained and passable during major weather events.

Most of us are familiar with the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, and while its mention may inspire some eye-rolling and groans, we still say it applies. At times when neighborhoods are not under duress is the perfect time to organize and prepare. Taking time to stash away some extra food and supplies can't hurt. You may never need them. You may never need to put a neighborhood emergency plan into action. But what does it hurt to be prepared? The county certainly sees the value in it, even though they undoubtedly never want to have to put it into action.

Don't wait until the next emergency strikes and it's too late to prepare. Take care of it as soon as you can.

Contract Publishing

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