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Don’t Just Hope For Adequate Emergency Response

Don’t Just Hope For Adequate Emergency Response

Lessons from the Oregon Ice Storm of 2024

Last month, I, along with many fellow Oregonians (and others in the Pacific Northwest), faced the chilling grip of a devastating ice storm. At work, I experienced the test of a power outage. The storm’s fury was evident in the menacing dance of falling trees and limbs, a stark reminder of nature’s unpredictable power. Navigating icy roads became a treacherous ordeal, each journey a test of nerve and skill.

At work, my worries deepened for a person I support. The biting cold seeped into the house rendered heatless by a power outage. The sealed fireplace, once a potential source of warmth, stood as a silent witness to our unpreparedness. Our reliance on modern amenities was laid bare when even gas-powered appliances, like the oven and furnace, became useless without their electrical control components.

This experience was not just mine alone; it was a shared ordeal across the state, highlighting the harsh realities of our infrastructure’s vulnerabilities and the limitations of governmental response in the face of such extreme weather. Several people died of hypothermia, injury from falling trees, and downed power lines. As we struggled through the darkness and cold, it became abundantly clear: we need to be better prepared, both as individuals and as a community, for the challenges that such natural disasters bring.

Failing Infrastructure

The Oregon ice storm of 2024 was a brutal lesson in the fragility of our infrastructure. The storm’s icy grasp strangled power lines, leaving them limp and lifeless, plunging neighborhoods into darkness. Roads, once arteries of our daily life, transformed into treacherous ice rinks, cutting off communities and halting the pulse of the city. Water treatment facilities, overwhelmed, faltered under nature’s assault, prompting advisories that turned the simple act of drinking water into a calculated risk…

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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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