There's always the possibility that a natural or human-caused disaster could affect us here in the Pacific Northwest. The Oregon Office of Emergency Management encourages residents to be prepared to be on their own for a minimum of two weeks. This will help emergency responders focus limited resources on injured and other vulnerable populations immediately following a disaster.
Remember, emergency preparedness is a shared responsibility. Here is some information to help you prepare, and stay safe, in the event of an emergency.
Take EWEB's Pledge to Prepare and start receiving a monthly email with easy, step-by-step recommendations that will help you get two-weeks ready by year-end
Community wildfire prevention is increasingly important as climate, drought and a host of other issues are converging—resulting in more frequent and damaging wildfire events.
Do you have important items gathered into an emergency kit? How will you communicate and reconnect with your family after a disaster?
Use these checklists to ensure you are prepared for any type of disaster:
Following a disaster, clean drinking water may not be available. Experts recommend that residents of the Pacific Northwest store 14 gallons of water per person in your household (enough for two weeks).
Here are some water storage and treatment tips:
Emergency Water Stations
EWEB is developing neighborhood emergency water stations. Working with community partners, we now have five, fully operational emergency wells and we are in the process of constructing additional sites. Locate the emergency water station nearest to your home and plan how you would get to the site and transport water in an emergency. You will need to bring your own container, and water obtained from an emergency water station will need to be treated prior to consumption.Learn more
Water heaters can move or tip over if not securely anchored to the wall or floor. For a small investment of time and money, you can avoid spilling gallons of precious water that could be useful in an emergency. Purchase and install a strap or bracing kit from your local hardware store, or have a licensed plumber strap your water heater according to code.
In addition to the water you have stored for drinking and cooking, your water heater could provide you with 30 -80 gallons of water for sanitation and other emergency uses.
Wall units, dressers, bookshelves, televisions and other heavy furniture should be anchored to the wall the protect occupants, help prevent toppled items from blocking exits, and mitigate damage. Check out the FEMA Earthquake Home Hazard Hunt for recommendations on reducing earthquake hazards in your home.
Being prepared with a back-up power system in the event of a major disaster or prolonged power outage is an important part of disaster planning, especially for people who use electricity and battery-dependent assistive medical devices such as breathing machines or power wheelchairs. Learn more about our Residential Medical Support Program.
Using a generator when the power goes out is a great option, but safety should be the top priority for both you and utility workers. There are two kinds of generators, portable and permanent. Portable generators are intended to provide power to an extension cord which is then plugged directly into an appliance or piece of equipment. Permanent generators are wired directly into the electrical system of your home. Learn more about generator safety.
EWEB offers a Backup Generator Program to assist with the purchase and installation of a backup generator and transfer switch to safely power critical components in a home during an emergency.
Whether a natural disaster or just an unanticipated power outage, having emergency lighting is critical to helping you navigate the darkness. LED flashlights provide super bright light and last for hours. Keep several flashlights at home and keep one in each of your cars. Lightsticks and emergency candles or lanterns can provide low level lighting for extend periods of time. Make sure your emergency kit includes extra batteries.
Smartphones have become a vital tool to receive emergency alerts and warnings, so it's important to make sure you can keep them powered up in an emergency. If the power goes out, preserve battery power by minimizing device use and changing the setting to low power mode or airplane mode. Have an emergency charging option for your phone and other mobile devices.
Many mobile devices will now bring you wireless emergency alerts—real-time information directly from local and federal sources. Check out these alert options:
Lane County ALERT ME! Lane County is able to send you emergency alerts via text message, email, pager, or voice call (in extreme cases), based on your preferences. Sign up today and share the types of alerts and notifications that you would like to receive, as well as your contact information and preferences.
American Red Cross: Earthquake Mobile App Receive alerts and notifications when an earthquake occurs, prepare your family and home, find help and let others know you are safe even if the power is out.
FEMA Mobile App Learn what to do before, during, and after emergencies with safety tips, and receive weather alerts from the National Weather Service for up to five different locations anywhere in the United States.
When you report a power outage via our toll-free reporting line, you can request a call back letting you know when your power is restored. You can also text 'stat' for a status update if you reported your outage using the texting service. To avoid extra steps during an outage, and to be placed on a restoration plan, please update your account with your current cell phone number by calling customer service at 541-685-7000, or by emailing EWEB.Answers@eweb.org.
Getting to know your neighbors can improve your safety and help the whole community become more disaster-resilient.
The Map Your Neighborhood program can help you meet your neighbors and prepare for emergencies. Once you and your neighbors have a good start on household preparedness, you can use the Map Your Neighborhood program to plan to help each other effectively after a disaster. Map Your Neighborhood walks your group through a simple step-by-step process to customize an emergency preparedness plan for your area.
Southeast Neighbors also has some great information about Map Your Neighborhood on their website.
Take a few moments to make sure we have your current contact information in case we need to reach out to you in an emergency. If you rely on electrically powered medical devices, or you care for someone who is medically fragile, we encourage you to let us know and to have a contingency plan in the event of a prolonged outage. Contact our Customer Service team at 541-685-7000.
Set up plans with friends or relatives to check on special-needs folks during an emergency, and transport them if necessary to a site with electricity, such as emergency centers, hotels or neighbors.
In case of a disaster of any type, it may be necessary to turn off utilities to avoid damage to your home.
Unlike gas, turning off the electricity doesn't require any tools. If your lights are flickering or you suspect any damage, locate the electrical circuit box and switch off all the individual circuits. Then turn off the main circuit. If your power goes out, turn off all electric appliances and unplug major electric appliances. This will help prevent damage to the appliances when the power is restored. Learn more about protecting your electronic equipment.
Your water meter is usually located in front of your house near the curb. Often there are two valves that shut off the water: the curb stop (EWEB valve) and the customer hand valve. The curb stop is the valve that shuts the water off to the water meter. The customer hand valve is located directly after the water meter. Here's how to shut off your home's water supply in an emergency.
Don't have a customer hand valve? We offer a rebate to help you install a customer-side hand valve if one is not present. Get more information and the rebate form here.
After an earthquake, don't turn the water back on until you've been notified by EWEB that it is safe to do so.
If you have gas appliances, you need to know how to keep your home safe before and after an earthquake or other disaster. Visit https://www.nwnatural.com/Residential/Safety/EarthquakePreparedness.
If there is an extended power outage in the middle of winter, you'll need to take steps to keep your home as warm and comfortable as possible.
In an emergency, water and sewer lines may be disrupted, and you may need to improvise emergency sanitation facilities. One option is the Twin Bucket Emergency Toilet. Be sure to include basic sanitation supplies in your emergency kit, including plastic garbage bags and ties (heavy duty), household chlorine bleach, soap, hand sanitizer, and toilet paper.
More emergency sanitation information.
Any time the power goes out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to maintain the cold temperature. The refrigerator will keep food cold for about four hours if it is unopened. A full freezer will keep the temperature for approximately 48 hours if the door remains closed. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends these food safety steps to follow before and during a power outage. And Oregon State University Extension offers these Tips for Keeping Your Freezer Frozen During Power Outages.
We want to provide customers with better service, build a more resilient community and create a cleaner energy future. As a part of acheiving these goals, we are upgrading our electric and water meters to smart meters.
Winter can bring icy winds and below freezing temperatures, which can do a lot of damage to your home. Protect your home and keep water flowing by preparing now.