Dear SES Families,

Our hearts go out to the people of Nepal, digging out from the magnitude-7.8 earthquake that struck on Saturday, April 25. Sadly, the death toll continues to rise, and there is so much to rebuild. In addition to absorbing the news of this tragedy, it is a call to action for us as Oregonians living on the Cascadia Subduction zone.

There are some basic and essential things you can do to help ensure you and your family’s safety and resilience in and following an earthquake:

  • Practice earthquake drills—DC-HOT: Drop, Cover and Hold On Tight. Your kids practice this in earthquake drills at school. If you haven’t practiced an earthquake drill yourself, ask your child to teach you the basics of DC-HOT.
  • Make a Family Reunification Plan. At the bottom of this page are some questions to help you do so.
  • Be sure that your children’s schools have emergency contact information not only for you as the parent or guardian, but for backup adults who could take care of your children if you are separated for any length of time.
  • Have a pair of hard-soled shoes and a flashlight under every bed in your home.
  • Water and sanitation are two of the biggest challenges following a crippling natural disaster. Store water at home and plan for an emergency sanitation system. (A 2-bucket composting system is the best. Second choice would be lining a bucket with plastic bags which you can then tie up to store human refuse.)
  • Know how to shut off the gas and water to your home if there is a leak.

Thank you so much for doing what you can to help make your family and your community safe. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions about how you can help our PTSA’s Safety and Resilience Committee’s work, or any other questions you might have.

Dana Buhl

Holly Cook


Family Reunification Planning:

Developing a communication and reunification plan starts with conversations and involves relationships with those around us. Here are questions to help start those conversations.

  • What is your primary reunification site? What’s the secondary site if the primary site is unsafe or unreachable? Do you have a location to leave notes for each other if you have to leave before everyone can reconvene?
  • Do you or a family member cross any bridges to get to work or school? If you cannot get back home right away because bridges are down, where will you go? Can you stay at your work with a buddy, or do you know someone who lives nearby where you can go? If you have a buddy, or if you plan to go to a home nearby, do they and your family know your plan?
  • Do you have an emergency contact person for your children who lives near their school? Who can pick up your children and shelter them if you are unable to get to them right away? Does the school have that emergency contact information? Does your child know that plan? Does the emergency contact person know what’s expected?
  • Do you have an out-of-state contact to help with reunification? (This might be necessary if cell lines are down, but telephone landlines are usable.) Does that contact person know they are the contact and does he or she have vital information about everyone in the family?
  • Who in your neighborhood will you check on after a disaster, and who will check on you? Have you talked with neighbors about developing a block plan?