Harvey's lesson: No more excuses not to prepare
We saw the rescues: the navy of citizens with their boats traversing flooded neighborhood streets. Helicopters lifting stranded people off roofs, people wadding in waste deep water holding children and other precious possessions above their heads, and the others patiently waiting in flooded buildings, nursing homes and school shelters.
It that weren't enough, we have also seen the devastation spread across the Caribbean, Florida and Georgia by Hurricane Irma.
Now there is no longer an excuse. No longer an excuse for Oregonians not to prepare. It will likely not be a hurricane with biblical flooding, the Eagle Creek fire and the dozens of others across the state are reason enough. We live in a state that has experienced plenty of natural disasters from the Vanport Flood to the Columbus Day Storm and we are "due" for the big one, the 9.0 Cascadia Peril earthquake and tsunami.
Yet the most likely major disaster Oregonians experience is a common house fire, which is devastating for the family whose home is destroyed.
The lesson is to be prepared should you need to evacuate your home quickly. Having a bag with needed supplies by the front door you can grab on the way out.
Understanding what you'd need to do if there is a disaster that overwhelms the ability of our police, firefighters, National Guard and other government resources to come to our aid.
What is the minimum you'd need? Money, records of account numbers and passwords, prescriptions/medications, water, snacks, toys for kids, chargers for electronics, passports, birth certificates, wills and more, all in a bag you can grab quickly. (state.gov/documents/organization/207898.pdf)
Beyond that spend some time learning basic skills for keeping safe. Knowing how to turn off your electricity, gas, and water. Having a way to purify water. Rescue skills and an understanding of how to deal with a variety of disasters.
This is no guarantee of safety or survival but it will give you and your family, and perhaps your neighbors, a better chance of getting through the challenges disasters bring.
Stephen Sirkin is coordinator of Happy Valley CERT.