The Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared” was taken seriously by the owner of Portland Preparedness Center due to personal experience.
Twenty plus years ago, Michael Knight lived in New Zealand and worked in a high rise office building. He experienced two earthquakes that caused buildings to sway back and forth. Fortunately, New Zealand is ahead of the curve when it comes to fault line architecture and the building withstood the quake.
Another time he was stranded for five days while hiking at the confluence of three flooded rivers. He hadn’t planned on being gone for long and he soon ran out of food. His hunting skills enabled him to shoot a possum to eat. “It didn’t taste like chicken but I was glad to have something to eat,” Knight said. “We’re accustomed to eating regularly.”
The reality that quakes and other natural or man-made disasters do indeed happen was the catalyst for him to open Portland Preparedness Center two years ago.
At the same time, his business manager Joshua Patterson was thinking along the same lines. He was the team leader for the local Emergency Preparedness Team and was looking to find someplace that carried survival information, equipment, food and education. They’ve created a store to cover all these bases and more.
One of the first tools everyhomeowners should know about is the Earthquake Survival Tool or the main gas shut off tool, which does exactly what its name says. Do you even know where yours is? It comes with a tie to connect to the gas line for easy shut off. Another necessity is different water purifying systems. Water has to heat to 150 degrees to kill bacteria. The Katadyn Drip Gravidyn distiller removes all viruses, bacteria, radon, heavy metals and can improve the taste. They have a large size and a pocket size one.
Other brands and styles are the Berkey light, the Stovetec water pasteurizer and Potable Aqua tablets. There’s a large locallymade cedar rain barrel and other water storing barrels. Clean water is a necessity the average person takes for granted.
The next most necessary item is food. The store stocks cheese from Australia, canned meats from the Amish community, butter from New Zealand and, according to Knight, an amazing canned bacon with over 50 rashers (pieces) in it.
One of the main brands of dehydrated foods is SOPAKCO, started in 1943 out of the need for military food rations. Since then, they have developed products and distributed them to non-military agencies. They are fully prepared meals in a package.
Portland Preparedness Center has visual displays so you can see how much food you would need for a family of four for 72 hours, a week, a month or a year. The food can be stored for up to ten years.
“Health matters, so we don’t buy any GMO products,” Knight said. “We also make a special effort to shop from American companies first,” said Patterson.
An interesting backpack they feature is the Get Home Bag. It contains everything a person would need to survive for three days including food, a space blanket, first aid kit, water, fuel, flashlight, tools etc. The idea is to keep it in your car or at work so you don’t get caught by surprise.
Other interesting pieces of gear are: the Luggable Loo, the Sun Oven, single burner stoves, Geiger counters and potassium iodide tablets for radiation, Gerber knives, homeopathic first aid kit and books.
If you are wondering where to begin, the book selection is a good place to start. They have a great selection of books with information about first aid, cooking, edible plants, tracking, maps–a lot of practical basic survival skills.
To better prepare folks, they hold classes and workshops. “We’ve held an amateur ham radio operator class and certified Red Cross training and will be having a beekeeping class soon,” Patterson said. “We are also the base for the Neighborhood Emergency Team volunteer store.”
There is an amazing amount of practical and unusual merchandise these gentlemen have stocked for the person preparing for an emergency, the day hiker, the avid outdoors person or the curious.
The motto of Michael Knight is… “To prepare for one is to prepare for all.”
Portland Preparedness Center is at 7202 NE Glisan St. or online at www.getreadyportland.com. Phone is 503.252.2525.