One hundred days. That’s the amount of time the Willamette Valley is expected to be without electricity when the next megathrust earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest.

If you live in the region and just felt your heart crash to your stomach, welcome aboard. Electricity has become a resource we are highly dependent on. It’s scary enough to imagine three months without our lights turning on. For those who don’t have natural gas as a power source, a lack of electricity takes away our stoves, microwaves, washing machines, dryers and dish washers. It takes away our heat source. Then of course, there are the computers, phones, and TVs, but a major power outage has consequences well beyond all of this.

Without electricity, gasoline will not pump into our cars, water won’t flow from our sinks, food production will struggle, communication systems will fail, and ATMs won’t provide cash. Some stores will be forced to close, generators will run out of emergency fuel, and hospitals will struggle to provide care—for three months. Will it occur during the coldest, rainest three months? Who knows.

It is, beyond a doubt, a terrifying thought. We can admit to ourselves that when the earthquake hits, it’s really going to suck. But feeling terror now won’t help when that inevitable first day comes. Panic won’t help either.

Taking purposeful steps ahead of time will absolutely help. Make the situation managable for you and your loved ones by taking these three steps:

  1. Check out this 5-minute video from the EIS council to get you thinking (and hopefully smiling a little). https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_WmeliWFUHk&t=226s
  2. Come up with one thing you can do to mitigate the hardship and do that one thing. Whether it’s getting a flashlight and some extra batteries, having extra gasoline on hand, or setting up the supplies for a handwashing station and filling a jug of water, you won’t regret the step.
  3. Next week, repeat the process. Do it again, and again, and again until you think you can manage at least two weeks without electricity. The longer, the better.

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