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New mega-quake attention: ‘Be prepared, not scared’


A recent article in the “New Yorker” called “The Really Big One” has drawn a lot of attention, both locally and nationally to the damage a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami will cause.

And emergency planners have been taking the opportunity to raise awareness about how individuals can prepare, and how the region and Oregon is also continuing to prepare and mitigate for the looming threat.

“We want Oregonians to be prepared, not scared,” said Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) Director Andrew Phelps. “What we do now to prepare will save lives and property during any disaster.”

One project Oregon OEM and others are working on is a Cascadia Playbook to synchronize state and Emergency Support Function partners during Cascadia and other emergencies.

The Cascadia Playbook is a cross-cutting emergency management tool for the state of Oregon that supports various existing plans and efforts for the first 14-days of a catastrophic incident.

Oregon has also committed to being a full partner with Washington, Idaho and FEMA, in the development and presentation of a regional exercise called Cascadia Rising. The statewide exercise planning is in concert and collaboration with the regional effort for Oregon’s largest emergency management exercise ever that is scheduled for next spring.

Dr. Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards coordinator for Oregon OEM, said the success of what emergency management partners are doing to prepare Oregon for Cascadia and other emergencies is one aspect of preparedness, and that individuals and families should strive to be self-sufficient during a disaster.

A good goal is to work toward having two weeks of emergency supplies to be ready for an emergency.

“Now is a perfect time for everyone to evaluate a family emergency plan and update or establish emergency kits,” Rizzo said. “Make sure you and family members know about established exit routes, contacts, meeting places, etc., after a disaster.”

For emergency kits, Rizzo said it is a good idea to add new items, over time.

“You don’t have to run out and spend a lot of money,” she added. “If you go camping, you probably have a lot of your preparedness already done.”

Rizzo said everyone should practice what to do during an earthquake and know where tsunami routes are if they live near the coast.

Oregon OEM is urging all Oregonians to participate in the Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake drill on Oct. 15 at 10:15 a.m. It is part of the nation’s largest earthquake drill, and last year more than 390,000 Oregonians participated. Register at and take steps to make your family safer.

For more information on preparedness, go to the Oregon Office of Emergency Management preparedness page:

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