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Be Ready! Develop an Emergency Plan & Stay Informed

By Lindsay Wochnick

When a disaster strikes, your family may not be together so it’s important to plan your strategy in advance. Begin the process by developing a family emergency plan and use the plan to determine how you'll contact each other, where you'll meet, and what you'll do in different emergency situations.  If possible, establish an out-of-town or regional contact (extended family relations or friends) for your family members to call as a secondary contact in case local family can’t be reached. 

Assembling a disaster supplies kit and developing a family emergency plan can help you and your family to prepare for the unexpected, whether man-made or natural. The next step in emergency preparedness is to identify ways you can receive critical information before, during and after an emergency. 

People can receive information from local authorities, agencies, and businesses through PublicAlerts, FlashAlert Newswire and by listening to local radio and watching television stations: 

  • PublicAlerts: PublicAlerts is a portal to the community notification system for Multnomah County. You can sign up to receive emergency voice and/or data messages on your cell phone, Voice-Over-IP (VOIP or internet-based) phone, email or phone provided by a cable TV carrier. If you have a published landline phone, it will automatically be added to the system. 
  • FlashAlert Newswire: The FlashAlert Newswire system gives you access to emergency messages, including breaking news or weather closure information, from local agencies, schools, universities, businesses and churches who subscribe to use the service. 
  • NOAA Weather Radio: NOAA Weather Radio is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office.  NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. 
  • Local Radio and Television Stations: Local radio and television news stations report and help communicate important information during an emergency.  Also, when activated, Emergency Alert System (EAS) messages are transmitted to both TV and radio (an audible tone followed by voice instruction or scrolling text). The EAS is a national public warning system that requires broadcasters to provide communications capability during emergencies to local, state and federal authorities.

Remember, being prepared and knowing what to do will make all the difference when seconds count in an emergency.  For additional information on emergency preparedness in Multnomah County, visit

Robin Hagedorn
Community Outreach

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