Several years ago people in the Pacific Northwest started talking about this article in The New Yorker. As an Oregon native I've always been aware that living in The Ring of Fire has risks. I was in middle school when the 1993 "spring break quake" jolted me from a sound sleep. We do not routinely have the large-scale natural disasters that other parts of the country face, but we do have wind, ice and flood events. The concept of Neighborhood Emergency Teams first came on my radar by noticing a sign in my neighborhood. Since I've always been a "10 Essentials" kind of person, disaster preparedness immediately made sense. I realized that relying on camping gear didn't cut it and started doing research on FEMA and Red Cross recommendations. I started "prepping." When an e-mail from the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management arrived one day, reaching out to Portland Pubic School staff, I knew it was time to take the next step. In the video clip above, a local news crew happened to catch me stabilizing a "survivor" on my first day of NET training as we practiced using a backboard. After serving as a lifeguard through high school and college I came away with fairly solid first aid skills. Then as an occasional park ranger assistant, I obtained basic knowledge of radio protocol and how to deal with distressed (and sometimes belligerent) members of the public. As a 15 year veteran of public schools (okay one of those was at a private institution) I've herded kids through over 100 fire drills, in addition to earthquake, lock out and lock down drills. And no, asking teachers to carry guns is not a solution to the current epidemic of active shooters. NET explicitly forbids the carrying of weapons during training and deployment. Knowledge continues to be the greatest tool we have.
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Jenny Gapp, has fifteen years experience as a teacher librarian, four seasons as a seasonal state park ranger assistant, and two summers adventuring with National Parks in an official capacity.