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'September is National Preparedness Month. ... The hardest part is getting started. So, where do you start?'

September is National Preparedness Month, and for good reason. It's the month when we're more likely to have the most devastating natural disasters in our country.

As I write this, Hurricane Dorian is heading towards my family's home in northeast Florida. They've had more than a week's warning to protect their home, pack their bags and head out of town to a safe location.

Locally, our main concern is the threat of the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

You've probably heard by now that the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will have devastating consequences for the Pacific Northwest. Oregon Emergency Management (OEM) has urged us to prepare for two weeks without access to water and food. Unlike those in the path of Hurricane Dorian, a Cascadia Zone Earthquake, will give no warning, no time to go to the store and "stock up."

The hardest part is getting started. So, where do you start? I urge you to attend the Quake Up! — an earthquake preparedness event happening at the Forest Grove Farmers Market on Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The Quake Up! is put on by a new local group, SAFER (Support Alliance For Emergency Resilience), a grass-roots collaboration from Forest Grove and Cornelius interested in better preparing our communities for a disaster.

The SAFER group is made of volunteers from local churches, businesses, nonprofit groups and government organizations, and we are supported by Forest Grove Fire & Rescue. We worked in conjunction with Washington County Emergency Management and the Quake Up! team to bring this event to Forest Grove.

We will have over 25 booths displaying items and information on ways to help you prepare, with educational booths, presentations and even classes for the kids. You will be able to ask questions of local preparedness experts about anything from ham radio to sanitation with twin buckets. The Forest Grove School District will have a booth where you can find out about the School District's preparedness plans. It will be a great place to start on your preparedness journey.

Stacy Metzger is a preparedness educator and coordinator for the Map Your Neighborhood program with Forest Grove Fire & Rescue, lead coordinator for Forest Grove-Cornelius Quake Up!, and founder of Forest Grove-Cornelius SAFER. She lives in Forest Grove.


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