PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Sure, deadly tornadoes like the one that whipped through parts of Portland and Vancouver in 1972 are a rare occurrence in the Pacific Northwest. But, they aren’t the only natural disaster threat in our area.

We see a little bit of almost everything here. From wildfires to earthquakes to tsunamis, extreme heat to extreme winter weather, to landslides, volcano eruptions, and, yes, tornados. Because of that, it is important for you to be able to deal with disaster danger when it happens, and the hours, days, and weeks after the initial disaster passes, but the dangers remain.

Dawn Johnson from the American Red Cross Cascade Region says being prepared is the best way to survive and recover from everything nature can throw at us.

“The thing about disasters is that we don’t really know when they’re going to happen,” she said. “We usually have little to no warning before they strike. One of the best ways to be prepared is to have an emergency kit at home in this emergency kit.”

Those kits should include the essential items for you and your family to make do for at least 72 hours and up to 2 weeks.

“Each disaster is different, each recovery’s different,” Johnson added. “Depending on the disaster, infrastructure could be damaged. It could take some time before help can reach your neighborhood.”

The better prepared you are when a disaster hits, the better the American Red Cross and other emergency responders can do their job and help everyone who needs it.

“We’re really talking about those first few hours, those first few days, following a disaster,” Johnson said. “It’s so important for you to be prepared and be able to sustain yourself until help can arrive.”

In addition to building the survival kit, the American Red Cross has more resources and preparation advice on their website.

They have also developed an app that can help warn you of impending danger, like severe weather, provide emergency information during a disaster, and give you a way to let friends and family know you are safe.

Your safety, regardless of the type of disaster or how long it lasts, remains the top priority of the American Red Cross.

“The mission has never changed,” Johnson said. “We’re meeting the basic needs of disaster survivors. Each disaster is different. Each recovery is different, but the essential mission for the Red Cross is always the same: To relieve human suffering following a disaster.”