During and after an emergency situation, neighbors can be a powerful source of help. In fact, after a disaster like an earthquake or fire most people are rescued by their neighbors, not firefighters or other emergency services. To tap into this powerful resource, we have Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) made up of more than 2,000 Portlanders who have volunteered to be trained and provide help during emergencies.
NET volunteers receive 25+ hours of training from Portland Bureau of Emergency Management and Portland Fire & Rescue in basic emergency and rescue skills. NET volunteers can be deployed on many different types of assignments to help their communities. Not only can they help during a natural disaster, but they can also be asked to create a safe area around a fire or downed power line or perform welfare checks during extreme heat events. Many NET volunteers also provide first-aid at events and festivals, help at homeless shelters, and connect older adults and Disabled neighbors to vaccine appointments.
Everyone has a part to play in disaster response. One of the most important things you can do to help take care of yourself and others is to be prepared for a natural disaster. This means having a safety plan for your household and enough supplies to last you for two weeks while emergency services respond to the crisis.
How can you prepare for an emergency?
- Sign up for PublicAlerts. PublicAlerts sends lifesaving info when an emergency is happening.
- Put together two weeks of emergency supplies. It can be expensive to get everything you need, so here is a guide on how to build up these supplies bit-by-bit over 24 weeks.
- Make a plan for your family and community using this Community Resilience Workbook.
- Connect to your NET. Find your NET’s contact info and operations plan or sign up to volunteer! NET trainings are free and available in Spanish.
- Print out and keep this Pocket Prep quick emergency guide in your wallet or your car. You can request this by emailing NET@PortlandOregon.gov.
Organizing a neighborhood meeting or training to discuss emergency plans and personal safety is also a great way to build community. Many cities offer free resources, like the City of Portland’s Community Safety trainings, which help to start and host these important safety conversations and build resilience in our communities.