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Portland Bureau of Emergency Management

Readiness. Response. Recovery.

Phone: 503-823-4375

Fax: 503-823-3903

TDD: 503-823-3947

Portland encourages residents to join the Neighborhood Emergency Team program to help prepare for the next earthquake

NETThe City of Portland is encouraging residents to join the Neighborhood Emergency Team program – or NET – as a way to prepare for earthquakes and other disasters. In the immediate aftermath of a major disaster, more than 90 percent of persons rescued are not assisted by firefighters, police officers or other public safety responders – they are rescued by their neighbors. The NET program gives residents basic safety skills they can use to help with search and rescue, treat injuries, and shut off damaged gas and water utilities until professionals arrive.

“The earthquakes off the Oregon Coast on Sunday and Monday serve as a reminder we all need to take action to prepare before the next major quake,” said Commissioner Steve Novick. “Joining the NET program is one of many ways Portlanders can become more resilient and help their families, friends and neighbors.”

Last week the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management released a report highlighting the work of the NET program [click here to read the report]. In 2014, the program contributed 14,402 volunteer hours (up 59% from 2013), added 135 new members, took active steps to increase NET diversity, and deployed teams eight times in response to emergency incidents, including during a wind storm last December, and planned events.

Portland residents can learn more about how to join the NET program by visiting www.portlandoregon.gov/net, and find tips on how to prepare for an earthquake at www.portlandoregon.gov/pbem.

Portland NET program releases 2014 report

Report highlights the work of the Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team program in 2014.

NET reportIn the aftermath of disasters such as earthquakes, more than 90 percent of persons rescued are not rescued by police officers, EMTs, or firefighters. They are rescued by their neighbors.

Since June of 1994, the Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) program has trained 2,519 volunteers to safely protect lives and property in their communities in the wake of a major disaster. After a catastrophe such as a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, NET volunteers will conduct search and rescue operations, triage and treat injuries, and shut off compromised utilities until professionals can arrive on the scene.

The following report showcases the work of the NET program in 2014. Highlights include:

  • 14,402 reported volunteer hours (up 59% from 2013);
  • 135 new NET volunteers;
  • 8 NET deployments (total of 610 volunteer hours);
  • 6 large advanced training events, with over 600 total classroom seats;
  • Community outreach to over 14,000 people;
  • Publication of the NET Diversity Report;
  • Holding basic NET training in neighborhoods;
  • Completions of the program's first team Operations Plans; and
  • Criminal records checked on 100% of active volunteers.

Click here to read the full report.

We asked for your input. Here's what we learned about emergency messages...

Highlights from the results of a survey and two community workshops asking how the public would respond to emergency alerts during a large-scale evacuation.

EvacuationEarlier this year, we asked for your feedback to help improve how the City of Portland issues emergency alerts in the rare event of a large-scale evacuation. We ending up hearing from 411 Portlanders through an online survey and two community workshops.

One of several tools we may use during an evacuation is the PublicAlerts system, which can send a message with an urgent safety warning to landline phones, mobile phones and email addresses. The one catch is that although the system already has most landline numbers, you must register your mobile phone and email address at www.publicalerts.org to get the alerts.

The survey and workshops asked how people may respond after being contacted by PublicAlerts. Here’s what we learned from the responses…

  • Most people (78%) would not answer a phone call from an unknown number.
  • About 50% would listen to a voice message from an unknown number right away.
  • Upon receiving an evacuation message on their landline, 56% would immediately leave the area. Over 44% would seek confirmation from another source, such as TV or radio, before evacuating.
  • Approximately 75% of those responding would immediately notice and check a text message.
  • Some indicated they wanted to know exactly how far they would need to evacuate, and whether or not they should bring their pets.

Here’s what we plan to do with the results…

  • Suggest anyone signing up at www.publicalerts.org save the number (503) 823-3947 in their mobile phone as “PublicAlerts.” By doing this, future alerts will no longer appear to be coming from an unknown number.
  • Continue to promote PublicAlerts registration, especially for mobile phones. Text messages tend to reach people much faster than messages going to landline phones, and are more likely to be read quickly.
  • Work with Portland’s public safety responders to develop common language to use when sending out a press release about an evacuation, especially regarding how far to evacuate and safety instructions for pets.

And here’s what you can do (if you haven’t already)…

  • Sign up at www.publicalerts.org to receive future emergency alert messages.
  • If you previously signed up for PublicAlerts, save the number (503) 823-3947 in your mobile phone.