PORTLAND, Ore.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The City of Portland, Portland State University and Portland General Electric, with guidance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, are partnering to create a PREPHub (Emergency Preparedness Hubs) Pilot, a program to improve disaster resilience and emergency preparedness in Portland. Portland City Council voted to approve the agreement today.
PREPHubs are a new kind of infrastructure designed to operate entirely off-grid during a disaster, providing crucial services that include power, communication and emergency first aid supplies. The hubs will be able to recharge emergency communications, equipment and cell phones during and immediately after a natural disaster. They also provide secure, locked storage for Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Node (BEECN) cache equipment. BEECNs are places for Portland residents to go after a major earthquake or other disaster to ask for emergency assistance and get information. PGE will provide power to the PREPHubs from the electric grid and from energy storage devices, supplemented by solar arrays and pedal-power.
“The City of Portland is leading the nation in testing innovative solutions to emergency preparedness thanks to MIT,” says Mayor Ted Wheeler. “These hubs will serve as a place for the community to gather so that residents feel safe and prepared. I am proud that Portland can serve as a testing ground for innovation and can serve as a model for other cities in promoting community resilience.”
The first PREPHub will be located on the Portland State University campus and is expected to be installed in 2019.
“Locating Portland’s first PREPHub on the PSU campus is yet another demonstration of the way the university’s research expertise serves the city,” says Portland State University President Rahmat Shoureshi. “We’re excited that our faculty and students will get to test out the capabilities of this new technology, paving the way for more PREPHubs in the future.”
“The PREPHub project will provide our communities with an important energy resource in the event of a natural disaster,” says Maria Pope, president and CEO, Portland General Electric. “Successful disaster response depends on partnerships. This project will also inform PGE’s work to use technological advances to build a smarter, more resilient grid for customers.”
“PREPHubs are designed to increase disaster preparedness at the neighborhood level, while also providing critical power and communications needs in the event of a disaster. We have developed different manifestations of the PREPHub project since 2014, supported by research on disaster response and preparedness in cities around the world,” says Miho Mazereeuw, Associate Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, Director of the MIT Urban Risk Lab. “We are extremely excited to be able to work with the City of Portland, Portland State University, and Portland General Electric to turn that research into a new PREPHub prototype, designed especially for and with the people of Portland.”