Lincoln County Schools Safety Coordinator Sue Graves and her team of volunteers and supporters, in cooperation with Lincoln County Emergency Management showed off Lincoln County’s first Earthquake/Tsunami Disaster Supply Cache (or stash, if you like). It’s located at Taft High School and is meant to meet the food, shelter and water needs of the 1,300 adults and students scattered among Taft High, Taft and Oceanlake Elementary schools.
Should a large earthquake strike the Oregon Coast, followed by a tsunami during a school day, the closely spaced schools would have a meeting place at Taft High. They would begin erecting tent shelters and distributing food, water and medical supplies to treat the injured.
Food would be military style “meals ready to eat” (MRE’s) which are stored in the supply structure. There is also enough water for everyone for two days via large blue water barrels whose content is good for five years. In addition, there are filter straws that can be used to supply safe drinking water for up to another 40 days for everyone. Water from creeks and streams would be the source of the water, and each person would consume portions of that water through their straws.
To keep survivors out of the wind and rain, the cache contains enough tent shelters to accomodate everyone. They can be erected within 15 to 20 minutes and are simple to assemble.
Graves says although this is the first assembled disaster supply cache for over a thousand people, it still isn’t complete. Graves says they still need stocking caps for all 1,300 persons along with 1,300 warm blankets made of mylar which are cheap and retains body heat very efficiently. Anyone who might want to donate to the cause can contact Sue Graves at 541-265-6601.
Total cost to date for this not-quite-finished survival cache is just shy of $33,000. So if $40K can accomodate 1,300 people for at least two weeks it would require 40 such caches county wide to handle everybody in Lincoln County. The cost would be $1.6 million. If the caches are strategically positioned around the county in well known locations, it could take a big load off the minds of everyone who may not be as vigilant or able to ensure that they get enough food, water and medical supplies as they would need for those two weeks, in that the coast would be isolated from the Willamette Valley which would be very busy taking care of their own much greater populations.
One strategy could be to float a one year county-wide tax levy that would raise the money for food and other supplies lasting ten years. A very rough estimated tax rate would run around 25 cents per thousand or around $50 dollars for the one time levy based on a home’s assessed value at $200,000. With those funds, it would be enough to place 40 emergency supply caches throughout the county, enough for every man woman and child. Only minimal maintenance would be required like changing out the water barrels every five years and the MRE’s (food) every ten years.
Although the math looks affordable there are a number of extenuating circumstances. If the county bought emergency supply caches in such quantities, it might get a sizable discount. Also, many families will have their own emergency supplies but some of those supplies could be inaccessible due to damaged or destroyed buildings.
There is also the issue of the earthquake/tsunami coming at the height of the summer tourist season during which the county’s population could be double what it normally is.
Just some food for thought for the citizens of the county and for our elected leaders.