Remember that time you heard about ‘the Big One’ — the mega earthquake that is predicted to ruin the West and send deadly swells stampeding across the Pacific — and did nothing?

Didn’t buy a water jug. Didn’t pick up a hand-crank or battery-powered radio. And you didn’t throw that extra can of beans into the cart last time you went shopping for an emergency kit. Come to think of it, you never even went shopping for an emergency kit.

Well, us too.

But something remarkable happened on Tuesday right off the Oregon Coast — the United States Geological Survey recorded 11 earthquakes about 120 miles west of Gold Beach.

The cluster, located on the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate, which is part of the Cascadia Subduction Zone that runs from Northern California to British Columbia, included earthquakes ranging from 2.8 to 5.6 in magnitude and occurred 6 miles underwater.

The USGS didn’t issue a tsunami warning this time, but it’s a good reminder of the 9.0 megaquake seismologists predict is coming within the next 50 years. And that Oregonians could be without help for at least 72 hours, though many say it could be weeks.

So for both of our sakes, here’s a few tips to help prepare for the tremendous temblor — or any disaster.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests having good shoes, long pants, and work gloves on hand to protect yourself while clearing debris. A first aid kit, fire extinguisher, and a hand-crank radio (we weren’t kidding earlier) are also good things to keep in a safe place.

The Red Cross recommends storing one gallon per person per day, meaning if help doesn’t come for two weeks like experts predict, 56 gallons of water will need to be stored for a family of four. Which is vital. You can last about three weeks without food, but only about a week without water.

Still, experts recommend having about two weeks of food on hand — at least one good well-balanced meal a day. Non-perishable food is best, like pasta, canned goods, dried milk, beans, but the state also encourages people to think about growing fresh food. It’s good to remember that you don’t need large plots of land to produce great food. Lots of vegetables do well in pots on patios.

So let’s make a deal. Next time we’re at the store we’ll pick up a new flashlight if you walk a little slower down the canned food aisle and pick out some shelf-stable corn.

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Take the initiative to see who, in your neighborhood, is willing to draft a disaster plan, then draft the plan. Consider all ages and who will need the most help. Does the aging couple at the end of the street know where and can get to their utility shut-offs? Is there a central area designated to organize a house to house search for finding those needing help? Does your neighborhood know your City Emergency Managers and the communication network set in place? Utilize informational publications so the neighborhood will know how to prepare and respond during an earthquake. And understand that if the earthquake is The Big One we've all been warned of, you'll need enough supplies for a month, two would be better. The devastation will hinder local response, even State response. FEMA, by its process of law, is time consuming in just getting responders on the ground after a disaster. Make sure you and your family are prepared. Make a plan, practice it, it will go a long way to organizing the chaos of an earthquake disaster.


If you have canned food (metal cans) don't forget the hand crank can opener.


I know people that fill jugs with water and store them under their beds. The jugs are cleaned and refilled every spring. Have a relative you keeps dried meals in packs in cause of any type of emergency. Always good to have fresh batteries, a lantern or hand crank light and radio on hand. Don't forget candles but flame can be a source of fire so be careful.


You do not want to drink water from the tap after a moderate shaker. It knocks sediment loose in the pipes underground. Bottled water will be still good after a couple years if stored in a place that does not sway between hot and cold.

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