Tuesday, April 21, 2009


In terms of disasters, Oregon has only one to fear: the powerful cascadia subduction zone earthquakes that have the potential to create tsunamis and wide-spread devastation.  Up until recently it was thought that these earthquakes only occured once every 500 years. But this month coastal geologist Rob Witter spoke during earthquake and tsunami awareness meetings and told the public that new evidence tells geologists that the earthquakes are more likely to be occuring every 300 to 350 years with a 10-14% chance of another earthquake occuring within the next 50 years. This turns out to be about two times more likely than previously thought. The details can be found at OregonLive in the article  "Big earthquake coming sooner than we thought, Oregon geologist says".

But James Roddey and Rob Witter said something that is even more important: we need to be prepared.
"We've almost doubled the probability of these events happening," Roddey says. "It just gives a whole lot more urgency to educate the folks at the coast that, 'Hey, you got to get ready.'"
"The geology and numerical models predict tsunamis could reach as high as 80 to 100 feet in Oregon,  which is similar to the tsunami that struck Sumatra," Witter says. "We need to be very cautious and prepare for that event. It may not happen in a person's lifetime, but if it does, it's going to be equivalent to a Katrina-like event."
Being ready can save your life in such an event. Hurricanes and snow storms move slowly enough to allow warning. But earthquakes are sudden and an earthquake driven tsunami could hit the coast within 20 minutes of the earthquake occuring. It might not happen - but if your not prepared when it does happen then you are likely to be hurt...or worse.
That doesn't mean we need to live in fear, though.
"Once you get prepared and you know where high ground is, once you've talked to your family about an emergency plan and talked about all those kinds of things, you've done your homework. You don't have to think about it again." 
Be prepared...have a kit. Find the closest high ground. And talk to your family about an emergency plan. It takes only a few minutes of your time for each step. These are the basic steps to disaster preparedness and they can save your life.