Friday, January 20, 2012

Could a Disaster Occur in South Deschutes County?

Are you ready for an extended power outage?
Here is the first installment of the bi-monthly Newberry Eagle preparedness column by Leon Pantenburg
Doom and gloom! It's 2012 and the end is near! Get ready for "The Big One," the level nine earthquake that will happen off the Oregon coast and be felt for a thousand miles...

And on and on...
But, really,  could a natural disaster occur that would impact south Deschutes County and the rest of Central Oregon?
What about the potential for forest fires, snow disasters or earthquakes in La Pine and the surrounding areas?
And who is a reputable source of information - who can you believe? The Red Cross? The Deschutes County Sheriff's Department? The Oregon Department of Transportation?
Here's the scary part: All these agencies agree that it isn't a matter of "if" a huge natural disaster will occur in south Deschutes County, but "when!" According to Tom Farley, executive director of the Oregon Mountain River Chapter of the American Red Cross, the number one priority of all five chapters in the state is to prepare for that inevitable big earthquake. (For more information on Oregon's upcoming earthquake, check out this internet story:
And that's the point of this new, bi-monthly column in the "Newberry Eagle." We need to start a conversation about what this community will do in the event of a major emergency.
It's hard to look at the peaceful atmosphere  of La Pine and the surrounding areas and imagine some natural disaster happening here. Human nature makes it a lot easier to dismiss the body of evidence and deny that there is a potential problem.
But that attitude could put a lot of people in serious trouble. So what is the first thing to do to change that mindset?
A good start might be a conversation about preparedness, and that's what we'll do in this column. There is already a grassroots movement within the south Deschutes County area to get started on creating a community preparedness plan, and I intend to help further that effort.
In the meantime, we will be talking about preparedness in this column and what you can do to get your family and neighbors ready to handle a natural disaster. We'll be talking to local and national experts on preparedness. We'll discuss simple, inexpensive thing you can do to help get through an emergency or disaster.
If you have specific questions about getting prepared, send them in, and I'll contact an expert to get some answers for you.
But most importantly, let's get moving!

(Leon Pantenburg is the author and webmaster of, a survival and preparedness website, based in Bend, OR. The website accepts paid advertising from reputable survival and preparedness companies.)

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