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Living Off Your Quake Kit: Family And Faith-Oriented Couple Study Prep To Help Community


Ed and Sara Johnson of Southeast Portland say their biggest reason for participating in the "Living Off Your Quake Kit" project is to learn more about how they need to be prepared for natural disaster and to spread that information to others.

Ed and Sara Johnson of Southeast Portland say their biggest reason for participating in the "Living Off Your Quake Kit" project is to learn more about how they need to be prepared for natural disaster and to spread that information to others.

Alan Sylvestre/OPB

Faith brought Ed and Sara Johnson together.

They went to separate Seventh-day Adventist colleges and were introduced through a mutual friend, Sara’s former roommate. They were married in 2012 and their spirituality is a pillar in their lives.

The Southeast Portland couple is one of the households participating in OPB’s “Living Off Your Quake Kit” event May 15-17. They’ll be testing their disaster preparedness and how well they can live off of their emergency supplies.

Johnson Family Supplies

While the Ed and Sara Johnson don’t feel like they’re fully prepared for a natural disaster, they were able to gather items around their home that could be used in the days and weeks after an earthquake.

  • Propane stove with two small propane tanks
  • Extra cat food for their cat, Baby K
  • A flashlight in each room
  • A battery-powered lantern
  • Three gallons of water
  • Extra toilet paper
  • A first-aid kit
  • Nonperishable food, including canned beans, canned soups, pasta and peanut butter

The Johnsons are active members at Your Bible Speaks Seventh-day Adventist Church in Northeast Portland, where 35-year-old Ed is the assistant treasurer and Sara, 33, is one of the counters — someone who verifies weekly offerings from congregation members.  

For the past few months, Ed has been predominately going to a Russian Adventist church down the street.

“Faith transcends race and culture,” he says about being the only non-white, non-Russian speaking member of the congregation. “You’re part of a family.”

Ed is trying to understand Russian language and culture better because his job — dental operation supervisor at the East Multnomah County Dental Clinic — has many Russian clients.

“It’s a harder language than Spanish,” he says.

Sara laughs, agreeing. She is fluent in Spanish and works as a medical interpreter.

Sara and her family have been talking about preparedness for years. Her large family — uncles, aunts, brothers — all come together regularly to talk about what they could do better as a group.

One topic that has comes up among her family is how they would reunite in the event of a disaster.

“We talked about Powell Butte as a meeting place for an emergency,” says Sara. Turning to Ed, they talk about it as a potential meeting place for the whole family.  

“It was never decided on,” he says.

Learn more and join in OPB’s “Living Off Your Quake Kit” weekend. On May 15-17, OPB will follow Oregon families as they try to live off their emergency supplies. You can follow along on social media with #UnpreparedNW.

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