Emergency Preparedness

Don’t be Intimidated, be Prepared!

Disasters small and large can come from a variety of sources, not just the “big one.” You don’t have to be a doomsday prepper or spend vast sums to become a “master of disaster.” See some of our tips, videos, and links below.

JWN preparedness workshops:

  • January 9 JWN General Meeting
    • Neighborhood Mapping Game
    • Self-Defense/Street Awareness Workshop (accessible for all ages and abilities)

We are also looking for motivated neighbors to help develop a disaster plan. Please contact us.

Disaster Communication

When power is off or cell towers down, you can still communicate.

FireChat: The Communication App for Emergencies

FireChat is a social networking app designed to work even when the internet and cell service do not. The app creates a network among FireChat’s users, linking together users’ smartphones like a daisy chain. When you send message, it will jump from FireChat user to FireChat user until it reaches the recipient.

When the app is open, you can see a list of other FireChat users who are close by. The app is especially useful for community members and neighborhood groups like the Jefferson Westside Neighbors to connect with each other in an emergency.

However, you don’t need an emergency to use FireChat. The app also works with WiFi and cell service. FireChat has public chatrooms as well as private messaging. It’s easy to create your own public conversation or private group. You sign up with an email address and you don’t have to use your real name. You can share photos along with text messages.

Go to opengarden.com/how-to.html to learn more about FireChat. Go to the Apple AppStore or Google play to download the app and try it out today.

As we have seen in the Hurricanes and fires in 2017, help may not arrive soon. In the event of a regional disaster, Portland, Seattle, Olympia, and Salem may take a lot of the focus and resources. Despite the location of epicenter of the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake in Santa Cruz county and major local destruction in the smaller cities of Watsonville and Santa Cruz, most attention resources were focused on San Francisco and Oakland 90+ miles away.

Cascadia Earthquake

In the next 50 years scientists estimate there’s a 37 percent chance of a magnitude 8 to 9 earthquake striking somewhere along the northern half of the West Coast, known as the Cascadia Subduction Zone. That’s better than 1-in-3. To put that in perspective, your chances of dying in a car crash is 1-in-114. If you take the time to fasten your seat belt or make an effort to drive carefully, you may want to consider doing a little preparation to help you survive a major disaster (see below).


Some parts of the JWN are considered to be in flood zones. This map is from here.

However, in the event of catastrophic dam failure in one of the 9 major dams in our area, downtown Eugene could find itself under 42 feet of water.

Should you Stay or Should you Go?

Some emergencies you can shelter-in-place, others require you to evacuate. In the 2017 Northern California wildfires the difference in living or dying was a matter of minutes. This neighborhood was considered “fire safe.” Take a minute and think, if you had to leave immediately with what you could grab and throw in your car, what would you take?  Could you remember that list if you were rousted out of bed at 2am?

Getting Prepared

Sat tuned here for easy steps for getting prepared – chances are you already have many of the items you need! Being prepared can be as simple as keeping your phone charged and a half tank of gas in your car. In the meantime, watch this video.