How to prepare if disaster strikes

FILE - This Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018 shows the remains of the Gold Nugget Museum, which was totally demolished by the Camp Fire, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/Martha Mendoza, File)

It's a scenario no one wants to imagine: The one that became a scary reality for thousands in California.

A fast-moving fire, wiping out homes, cellphone towers and nearly entire towns.

The number of missing continues to grow.

Law enforcement officials believe many of the missing may just be at shelters, unable to contact loved ones.

So, what if disaster strikes here in Portland and we find ourselves with little time to get out and your cellphone is left behind?

“It starts with the family. Have a plan, get a kit, stay involved and get informed,” Chris Voss, Multnomah County Emergency Management director, said.

Part of that plan is a backup plan.

For that Voss says there are a few things that can prepare you:

  • Memorize a main contacts phone number
  • Have multiple rally points
  • Utilize social media

As for that contact, make sure it’s someone who won’t be dealing with the disaster themselves.

“Then you can leave a message with them and if everyone is using that point person, then you have a lot of people calling one person,” Voss said.

He says if everyone in the family calls that one person, that person can keep a list of who is safe.

Another option is social media. While that might be the last thing on your mind, Voss says it can be a way to quickly alert people you are OK.

“Anybody that has been part of an event, Google people finder, Facebook, will allow you to mark if yours safe. Some people tag people on Facebook to identify folks.” Voss said.

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