It’s International Day For Disaster Reduction!

Get your party hats ready — it’s time to celebrate International Day for Disaster Reduction!

As Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of United Nations, said last year, “Disaster risk reduction is about stronger building codes, sound land use planning, better early warning systems, environmental management and evacuation plans and, above all, education. It is about making communities and individuals aware of their risk to natural hazards and how they can reduce their vulnerability.”

Over at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) there’s a similar message: “On this International Day for Disaster Reduction, we reiterate the vital importance of training local teams in managing crisis situations, and in preparing for disasters, involving the community as the most important resource. Nothing is more effective, especially when preparedness is combined with early warning systems and public awareness.”

It’s true, disaster reduction is everybody’s business. And all of us can do our part to raise awareness and reduce our vulnerability to future hazards.

This year, the focus is on keeping hospitals safe in a disaster. Are our hospitals here in Oregon able to withstand damage from a major earthquake? Will they be able to keep providing essential health services? The good news is that all of us — government, Red Cross, hospitals, etc… — will be participating in a large-scale disaster drill this spring. We might not know exactly what will happen with an earthquake hits Oregon, but we can definitely get ready.

So what are you doing to make a difference on International Day for Disaster Reduction?