August 13, 2021 Update: Masks required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in Oregon, regardless of vaccination status. For more information, click here
As an Ashland and southern Oregon resident, business owner or employee, you are only too familiar with the potential risks to your business and your home. The recent Almeda and Obenchain fires from September 2020, especially revealed a significant lack of preparation resulting in some cases of total losses from the devastating impacts of those fires. Many of those experiencing the losses have agreed to share the lessons they learned wanting to help others be more prepared and resilient should disaster strike. We asked, listened and compiled the top actions individuals wished they would have taken to be more prepared before and resilient after the emergency. While many resources are available, they can seem overwhelming to implement so we have created this easy-to-use, accessible guide to help you implement actions to create just the basics or develop a more involved plan. It’s all your choice how much you choose to utilize. This is action-oriented and meant for you to use it to create your own personal, customizable plan with links to additional resources to guide you along the way as you add to your plan.
Many efforts have been taken locally and nationally to develop programs to help residents be more prepared. The City of Ashland Fire & Rescue has developed a number of programs including the AIR – Ashland is Ready and the SmokeWiseAshland program done in collaboration with the Ashland Chamber to help guide individuals and businesses to be more prepared for the effects of smoke. From Ashland to Jackson County, Oregon and nationally, there are a number of helpful guides to help you develop and adjust your plans.
Below you will find the Top 5 Preparedness Steps provided for businesses and individuals. Click on each tab below to open and learn more.
It is extremely important to know what you own and many times we aren’t fully aware of everything in our possession. By taking images, video or written inventory of your belongings and then storing that information elsewhere, you can know what you have to regain if it is lost. How can you best protect your personal and business assets? Create an inventory today, educate yourself and document all you can.
For Businesses - Prepare your business today by taking account of your structural, financial and digital assets. How can you best position your business for recovery after a disaster? In the case of fire, how can you reduce the risk of harm for your business and preserve what you have built? Learn more here to get started and be ready.
For Individuals - Creating an inventory of what you and your family have spans beyond the crucial need to properly insure it. Your home may be the only place your family history and heirlooms exist. From family recipes, photos, momentos and those possessions that make up the memories of your life are precious. From your personal records and documents to your crucial essentials, safely store them and back them up. Know what they are, where they are and how you can best protect them. For sample checklists of personal records to inventory click here.
For a thorough inventory resource download the Personal Property Inventory here.
Do you know your evacuation zone at home and at work? If an emergency strikes, how will you safely get out and stay alive? Do you have access to the resources that will provide the most current updates?
The City of Ashland and Ashland Fire & Rescue have created a one stop shop resource to provide you with Evacuation Zones maps, and checklists of what to do now to plan for an evacuation here.
For Businesses - Create a plan and have each employee practice that plan if evacuation was in order. What needs to happen before you lock the door behind you?
For Individuals - Have a plan for your family to follow, where to meet and how to keep in communication with one another. To keep you and your family safe, create an evacuation plan and know your Zone. By having your essentials prepared, make sure you know what to do and where to go.
One of the most important ways of protecting what you have is by insuring it. From our health, and our lives, to our home, car and business, our ability to make a loss whole, after a disaster, requires we insure it. Many who lost the entirety of what they had in the recent fires of 2020, wished they had understood what insurance they had. Educating yourself now is important to fully understand what your current policy is, what risks are insurable and if the insurance you currently have actually covers what you own.
For Businesses - Does your commercial insurance cover your business assets? What type of risks is your business exposed to? Making sure your insurance is current and accurate is paramount. Learn more here.
For Individuals - Folks who lost their home shared with us they wished they had got the best insurance they could afford prior to the fires. Whether it is renters or homeowners insurance, take the time to talk to your insurance agent, understand what is covered, what your limit of insurance is and how to make a claim if you need to. Having a current inventory of what you have to be able to insure it, is crucial. Learn more here.
You have inventoried your assets, you are prepared, you know your Zone, you are insured, now have you backed up your documents, photos and important personal records? Being prepared includes taking the crucial step of backing up your things before a disaster strikes. Start small by downloading the photos and videos from your phone. Store your documents on the Cloud, One Drive, Google or whatever system works for you, build one today. Whether it is an external hard drive, alternative digital files or a safety deposit box, how can you preserve and store your important documents, photos for recovery and reference following a disaster? Make a plan to backup now, before it happens.
For Businesses - Each business is different in how it operates. Consider what the most critical aspects of your business are and how you can preserve them by looking at off-site storage, backing it up digitally and protecting the financial aspect of your business.
For Individuals - Take the step to back up your memories, documents, personal records digitally and securely. Each step you take builds your family's resiliency against disaster and increases your ability to recover after.