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Residents need to be prepared, too

Even after Multnomah County improves its emergency-preparedness program, citizens cannot depend on government assistance in the first few days after a disaster.

It takes time to marshal resources and begin distributing them to the places they are needed. That's why it's important that every family consider its emergency needs before an earthquake or other calamity hits. The Red Cross recommends that each household keep a 72-hour kit that includes water, food, clothing, medicine and other items necessary for short-term survival.

Government isn't always swift or dependable, which means citizens must take responsibility as well. Find more information at www.redcross.org.