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Crook County is preparing for continual threats from wildfires and flooding to earthquakes

Are you ready? Will you and your family be ready?

We live in the beautiful high desert of Oregon, surrounded by nature and all her beauty with hundreds of miles of open lands, rivers, lakes and rugged mountains. It's why we call Crook County home, but it also limits our access to the service and supplies available to large urban areas. As the recent snowstorms showed, we can't always count on help from outside of Central Oregon. We have to be self-reliant and ready.

From early summer into the fall, wildfires are a constant threat. Dry conditions coupled with summer lightning storms or human causes are a combination that creates an active fire season every year. These fires tear through our wildlands and can often encroach on neighborhoods.

Even though we live in a desert, flooding is still a major concern for many of our residents. With fluctuating winter temperatures, our rivers, creeks, seasonal streams and drainages can produce widely varied water flows. This creates an environment that produces periodic spring flooding, which can put many of our residents in jeopardy.

In addition to these more common natural disasters, there are also a couple of examples of larger scale events that could affect our community.

Most citizens are probably aware by now that experts are predicting a Cascadia earthquake event, but they can't say with any accuracy when it will occur.

We also live in a vast dormant caldera in close proximity to the active volcanos of the Cascade Range. Either of these events could be devastating to our community.

If there were to be either a major earthquake or volcanic eruption, we have to assume that it will severely limit our ability to deliver and access supplies and services. Because of this, all Oregon counties are being encouraged to work with our communities to increase awareness and education on the threats and challenges we face.

Among other things, Crook County monitors the conditions in our county, plans for and responds to any health-related component to all emergencies and disasters, and coordinates and works directly with community partners such as Crook County Emergency Management, FEMA, healthcare organizations, mental/behavioral health providers, community and faith-based organizations, state, local and territorial agencies to mitigate, respond and recover.

There are many things that our residents can do to prepare themselves for when these disasters occur.  The County's Emergency Management web page, www.sheriff.co.crook.or.us/emergencymanagement, has volumes of information on how to prepare you and your family.

Some of the most important items include how to put together a 72-hour kit of basic emergency supplies, family disaster planning, motor vehicle preparedness, first aid and pet preparedness.

Make sure to log in and register at www.alertcrookcounty.org to receive emergency notifications from the county emergency alerting system.

In Crook County, community preparedness is the foundation of the resilience of our community. We prepare for all hazards that face our community such as wildfire, flood, extreme weather (hot and cold), earthquake, drought and snowfall.

When considering emergency preparedness, it is important to remember that while your county government will do all that we can to help keep people safe, it is your role as a prepared citizen that will play the largest part in how you fare in a disaster.

The ability for your family to respond and get through an emergency situation is directly proportionate to the amount of time that you spent preparing. A prepared citizen is a confident citizen. Stay safe, and be ready.

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