HOOD RIVER, Ore. — It’s a question she asks a lot. “How many of you here have an emergency plan?” Nora Yatsov is a professional emergency manager. She works for PacifiCorps.

“An emergency plan doesn’t take any money. It just takes a little bit of time, some conversations.  Find out what you and your family, those that rely on you, what to expect during a disaster, where are you going to meet if you can’t get home.”

She’s telling people at a community gathering in Hood River what they should do to have a plan in place now before the weather turns hotter and the danger of wildfires increases.

“What are your important contacts’ information, do you know all the phone numbers in your phone? Do you have them memorized? I don’t. Write them down, make sure they’re accessible.  Important financial information or medications or prescription information.  It just takes a little bit of time to wrap all that together.   And put it in a document or in a folder that you can have with you.  You never know when you could be in a situation where you don’t have access to your resources.”

When she speaks to groups, Yatsov also asks, “How about a kit? Who has a kit here?”

That kit is vital, she says.  “We really encourage everybody to have a kit, not just power outages. We live in Cascadia subduction zone territory here, right? We have a lot of other hazards that we deal with.”

She lists for what needs to be in that kit, now, before the hotter weather boosts our risk of wildfires.   “For a home kit, we encourage a two to three week supply of food, shelf stable food, and food that you like to eat, not MREs, because who wants to eat that when you’re stuck in a disaster?  A first aid kit, of course.  If you have any pets, a leash and food for them, or a kennel, or some way to contain them, because they get scared. For kids, comfort items, because they’ll be scared. Things that make them feel safe and comfortable.  Activities to keep them distracted.   For those that need some assistance walking devices or anything else like that. Make sure you have those assistive devices available for them.”

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