6th Grade Families Prepare for Natural Disasters

Disasters happen. In 6th grade science, students finished their plate tectonics unit with a disaster safety focus. They have learned that the Pacific Northwest is a geologically active area because of our proximity to the Cascadia Subduction Zone. They became aware that Portlanders live with the unpredictable nature of living in a subduction zone. Together with volcanic eruptions and landslides, earthquakes are the most probable natural disaster that Portlanders may face. 


Disaster Preparedness Discussion & Reflection: Students led two meetings with family members to discuss how prepared their family is to deal with a disaster. The agenda included a Home Hazard Hunt, discussion of a family preparedness plan, and a disaster kit supply review. Following these meetings, students completed an in-class reflection with the subject “How prepared is my family for a natural disaster?”


One Family’s Journey: Michelle Detwiler shared that her daughter, “Isa did a fabulous job finally motivating me to build on some of the work I’d already started on my earthquake preparedness supplies! This was a great project for us to do together! I’m still figuring out the water storage piece.” Preparation is always a process and while water storage is a challenge, Isa rated her family's emergency supply kit an 8 out of 10 because “we have plenty of food to keep us alive as well as medical supplies if anyone gets hurt. We feel confident using the camping supplies because we go camping often and know how to use them.”


How Prepared is Your Family? To guide this discussion, you can use resources from Oregon Emergency Management including the booklet Living on Shaky Ground: How to survive earthquakes and tsunamis in Oregon, which shares the seven steps to earthquake safety. In addition, here are some tips compiled by the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management regarding water storage.