Disaster Prep For The Rest Of Us
by Dave Robinson
Documenting your Evacuation
Originally published May 10, 2012
In the last installment, we discussed evacuating in the event things go very wrong and your home is no longer a safe place. Just recently several families had to evacuate out of Mapleton and the Mohawk area in Eugene because of flood conditions. In our own county, residents of Allegany were both isolated and evacuated. Remember we are all only a major weather event away from being an evacuee.
Several people locally were stranded in their homes by high water for up to four days or more, (including one of my employees). Many were without power, thus underscoring what I’ve been saying all along, “Get A Kit, Make a Plan, and Be Informed.” When you stay informed, you know when the creek is rising, when the wind is going to blow and how to prepare. For those of us who have been around a while, we know which roads are going to flood and how to navigate around the problem areas. Ranchers know when to get their livestock to high ground and schools know when to send the kids home. Early pioneers learned their lessons the hard way. The first settlers built their new town in the flat below what is now Myrtle Point. After being flooded out three years in a row they decided to abandon the flood plain and build on the point of land above the river. There must have been a stand of Myrtle trees nearby, because the new city eventually came to be called Myrtle Point.
Back to evacuation. As I hinted in the last installment, “Prior planning prevents people yelling at each other.” Ok well maybe that’s only partly true, but prior planning does diminish the energetic conversations when the evacuation is in progress. One of the areas that is sometimes overlooked is that of document preservation. The documents that people most resent losing are understandably their photographs. Second are vital records such as marriage certificates, birth certificates and other documents that are difficult to replace especially if government services are somehow restricted. Lastly bills, insurance records, and bank statements. If you need a list, send me an email (see e-dress at the end of this column) and I’ll forward a comprehensive list to you. Free of charge.
There are two primary ways to preserve all of this. First gather all your photos and other documents you want to save, go to somebody with access to a Xerox copier and have everything copied. At this point you may want to visit a notary public and have certain documents notarized. Then bundle up your high-quality copies and put them in a safe place. One suggestion is to mail them (via the United States Postal Service, of course) to a relative or trusted friend that lives out of the area.
The second method is somewhat more hi-tech and requires a computer,scanner and flash drive. Scan your documents and save them on your flash drive, or use one of the online “cloud” technologies available for free. If all this hi-tech stuff raises your anxiety level, then refer to the above paragraph.
I suggest you have fun with your preparations. Make it a family affair. In the event you ever need to use your preps your chances of survival are greatly increased. As always, if you have questions or comments you may email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: Dave Robinson is Bandon's Postmaster and has worked for the postal service for 30 years. He has a background in law enforcement, served in the Air Force in Vietnam, worked nine years for the Coos County Sheriff's Department, and serves on the Myrtle Point School Board, where he lives.
additional columns by Dave Robinson