The little map that could save your life [Multnomah Co.]

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Matt Kinshella

Before the commotion of the holidays, the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) announced something that could very well save your life.

BEECN is a place to go in Portland after a major earthquake to ask for emergency assistance if phone service is down, or report severe damage or injury.

From the BEECN literature:

After a destructive earthquake, phone systems could crash. Computers, smart phones and other communication devices may become useless. If you’re sick, injured or in danger, how will you get help?

The Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM) is establishing 48 Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node (BEECN) sites throughout the city PBEM’s goal: within 24 hours after a major earthquake, a pre-designated city employee or volunteer will set up low-tech radio equipment under a clearly marked red and white tent. In a communications blackout — once your home is stable and secure — you can go to a BEECN site to report severe damage and injuries. BEECN workers can also help you access resources such as water, shelter or first-aid. During this time, OPB radio 91.5 FM may broadcast official emergency messages directly from the City of Portland.

The BEECN web page is a treasure trove of resources. You can find the BEECN map (below), sign up for alerts, get information on emergency smart phone apps and print out mailers (available in several languages) to send to those you care about.

Much applause is due to our friends at PBEM and although I hope we never have to use BEECN, I’m glad the system is there for us.

Check it out.