This post is the first in a series based on our interview with Felicia Willams, City Council Candidate for Position 3. More on Felicia here.
Q: We’re all a little freaked out by thoughts of “The Big One.” Tell us more about your campaign plank on “Emergency Preparedness.”
Felicia: We’ve all read the New Yorker article about the “Big One,” and have witnessed what happened with failed federal relief in Puerto Rico. When a natural disaster strikes Portland, we can’t necessarily rely on the federal government for a rapid and adequate response, so we need to get serious about preparing our city.
Q: Agreed … and we secretly suspect Trump would be glad to leave the Left Coast hanging. (joke) Seriously, what would you do to get us better prepared to survive an earthquake?
Felicia: The best way to survive an earthquake is to prepare for it.
Q: That sounds good, but do you have any specifics?
Felicia: Yes, I do. Here’s my five point plan that I will support as a Commissioner:
- Install an earthquake early warning system attached to both civil defense sirens and personal smart devices. This would give people up to two minutes to get to safety.
- Train additional Neighborhood Emergency Team Members (NETs) throughout our City and making sure we have NET teams in every single Portland neighborhood and high density apartment building.
- Develop Emergency Operations Plans for all of our K-12 schools.
- Make sure every family has Personal Action Plan.
- Test the early warning system and Personal Actions Plans annually.
Q: We’ve heard you did disaster work in the Air Force?
Felicia: Yes, my concerns for emergency preparedness grow out of my work in Command and Control while serving in the U.S. Air Force. I know what it’s like to directly coordinate high level responses to fires, gas leaks, plane crashes, tornadoes, and mass casualty events. When a disaster strikes, it will be critical to have calm, experienced leadership guiding our response, and this is exactly what I will provide Portland.
Q: Sounds like you’ve been in challenging situations before.
Felicia: Each is unique, but we can take action so Portlanders can work together to get through a disaster. We can utilize the public-private partnerships that already exist throughout Portland to create neighborhood and community safety plans so we can survive a catastrophic emergency.