Prepare Together

Marilyn Bishop

Founder, Cascadia Quake Kits

For me, it doesn’t get much better than spending a few weeks backpacking in the mountains. After college, I was fortunate to spend nearly a decade as an Outward Bound Instructor in the Sierra Nevada mountain range. During those years, I witnessed how powerful adventure can be as a vehicle for developing self-reliance. After my years in the mountains, I hunkered down in Portland to earn my Master of Social Work at Portland State.

I never would’ve guessed I’d have an earthquake preparedness business, but I felt called to act. I looked around and saw that most people weren’t preparing for the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. As a Social Worker, I knew that one important facet of communities that bounce back quickly from natural disasters is that they prepare for the hazard ahead of time.

I always give a big shout out the do-it-yourself folks who get prepared. Way to go! Unfortunately, they’re the exception. There’s many reasons why people don’t prepare and I had been on a first-name basis with a few of them: busy life, overwhelmed by the task, the earthquake was stressful to think about...preparing simply got pushed down my list.

I knew that people needed help with this, so I founded Cascadia Quake Kits to make it easy for people to achieve the 2-week recommendation. The Pacific Northwest deserves well-researched 2-week kits specifically tailored for a Cascadia earthquake. The typical kits that pop up in Google searches just don’t fit the bill. I’m proud of the role Cascadia Quake Kits plays in making the Pacific Northwest stronger.  





My Preparedness Story

I know how daunting preparing for “The Big One” can be. I first heard about the Cascadia Subduction Zone nearly 20 years ago. I took it seriously and knew I wanted to be prepared, but I kept putting it off. When I’d come across news stories on Cascadia earthquakes or saw quakes hitting around the world, I’d feel waves of stress because I was unprepared. I’d resolve to finally do it, yet life would get busy and I’d move onto other things.

After the devastating Sumatra earthquake and tsunami in 2004, I was determined to take action. I sat down with a stack of preparedness publications. The task of sorting through them, plus shopping for the varied items on the list was overwhelming. I stowed away a few gallons of water and some canned food, then stalled out. My friends were experiencing the same problem; they really wanted to prepare but felt bogged down by the process.
Years rolled by and news stories about Cascadia earthquakes became more frequent. I saw the preparedness recommendation change from 3 to 7 days, then to the current 14 days. What was already a large task became more immense.

I looked, but there weren’t kits on the market that met the 2-week recommendation. The shorter kits I found were filled with cheap, single-use items and were grossly deficient in water. I just wanted to buy a kit for my family that was built with the actual recommendations for a Cascadia earthquake in mind, but that didn’t exist.

I founded Cascadia Quake Kits to provide an easy solution for households who want to prepare. It feels awesome knowing that every time a kit that goes out the door, our region becomes a little bit stronger.