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EWEB encourages customers to take action during National Preparedness Month

September 23, 2019

An emergency kit with food, water, flashlights and other supplies

There's always the possibility that a severe storm or other natural disaster could affect us here in the Pacific Northwest. Should a major event occur, like a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, experts predict it could take months to get public services fully up and running.

Since electricity and water could be unavailable for an extended period, EWEB encourages its customers to be prepared to be on their own for a minimum of two weeks. That means storing 14 days of water, food, medicine and other supplies. For a family of four, that's 56 gallons of water.  

To help customers, EWEB earlier this year launched its Pledge to Prepare program—a 12-month guide to getting two-weeks ready. Since January, nearly 1,700 people have joined the program. Each month, EWEB sends participants a new set of tasks aimed at incrementally building a two-week emergency supply kit.  

The idea is to start small with a basic three-day kit, and then build it slowly over time.  

"We think of emergency preparedness as similar tackling a big financial goal or training for a marathon," said EWEB communications specialist Jen Connors. "It's helpful to set small, achievable milestones and to have support from others who are working toward the same goals, which is how the Pledge to Prepare is designed."  

Feedback from participants shows this incremental approach works:  

"What a great program this is! I had done a few things before but had been unsure how to proceed. Now, I have small steps which I can easily complete. Lots of fun." (EWEB Customer Sue W.)  

"Thanks for putting this program together. It makes the daunting task of preparing for an emergency much more reasonable. Up until now, I had done nothing and often felt worried about it." (EWEB Customer Matt B.)  

"Thanks for the easy-to-follow checklist. We even got friends and family involved when we created our emergency plan. We all agreed on meeting spots and an emergency contact outside of the area." (EWEB Customer Remie L.)  

EWEB has received dozens of photos from participants eager to share their progress on planning and preparing for an emergency. And according to EWEB's Jen Connors, some who joined at the beginning of the year have accomplished all the recommended steps and are now nearly finished with their two-week kits.  

"It's so rewarding to see the progress participants have made," Connors said. "We know from studying natural disasters that our ability to be self-sufficient at the household level affects not just personal safety and resiliency, but also how quickly and successfully we can recover as a whole community."  

Although the Pledge to Prepare has been up and running for nine months, it's not too late to join.  

"We're heading into winter storm season, and as we've seen in the last few years, severe weather can lead to multi-day power outages," Connors said. "National Preparedness Month is the perfect time to begin building a kit, because you can get all the basics ready before winter, and then build on that momentum going into the new year."  

To join the Pledge to Prepare and get started on your two-week emergency kit, visit eweb.org/pledge.