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Local Red Cross chapter announces statewide `Prepare Oregon' campaign

HOOD RIVER -- All fifteen Red Cross chapters in Oregon, along with government officials and community leaders, have announced plans to "Prepare Oregon," a major effort designed to help Oregonians be prepared for an emergency or disaster.

According to local Red Cross officials, whether it's floods, earthquakes, fires, storms or unexpected for the unexpected, whether it's a multiple day power outage or terrorist attack, Oregon faces a number of potential emergencies and the time is now for all citizens to be better prepared. Recent research conducted on behalf of the Oregon Trail Chapter has demonstrated that only one in seven Oregonians feel prepared for a disaster or emergency.

Red Cross officials say because disaster preparedness is vital to the health and well-being of Oregonians, Prepare Oregon will the top priority for the local Red Cross this year.

"The more prepared citizens are, the better job they can do stabilizing their family, coping with and responding to a disaster," said Annie Simonds, interim executive director of the Hood River Chapter. "The likelihood of an emergency happening is not a question of if, it's a matter of when. As a state, the lives and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors depend on how prepared we are."

The local Red Cross has enlisted former Senator Mark O. Hatfield as honorary spokesperson for the "Prepare Oregon" effort. The Red Cross also is teaming up with the Oregon Fire Chiefs Association, the Oregon Emergency Management Division and Oregon's Partners for Disaster Resistance to help Oregonians be better prepared.

To Prepare Oregon, local Red Cross chapters are asking all Oregon families and citizens to take three immediate steps, including:

1. Building a disaster supplies kit (please see sidebar);

2. Making a family emergency plan;

3. Getting trained in CPR and First Aid.

Specific how-to information about how to build a kit, make a plan and get trained can be found on the Prepare Oregon Web site at:

www.PrepareForLife.org

Local chapters offer free information, guidelines and advice for disaster preparedness. The Oregon Trail chapter also provides community disaster education programs, ready made disaster supplies kits and online CPR courses.

Prepare Oregon campaign information and information on the Web site also will be available in Spanish. The local Red Cross also will be reaching out to local and community officials to partner together on the Prepare Oregon effort. Exploring new ways to get information into the hands of all Oregon families to help them be better prepared also will be a top priority for local chapters.

"This year has shown us that everyone needs to be prepared for the unexpected," said Simonds. "When it comes to saving your own life and the ones you love, there's no better insurance policy than being prepared. Taking these three simple steps will make a world of difference for how prepared Oregonians are, should a disaster strike." The American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization, led by volunteers, that provides relief to victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.

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