Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Is Oregon Prepared for an Earthquake and Tsunami?

My thoughts on Oregon's preparedness.

We have an opportunity for a week or two. Following a disaster, people are very interesting in preparedness - for about a month - then the old apathy sets in again. Don't forget the lessons we learned from the distant Earthquake in Japan and the following tsunami.

We learned that even here, small, powerful waves can wash you out to sea. Many learned that they were not prepared to evacuate and it was a good thing we had the time to gather things together.

There are many stories and viewpoints out there about whether or not Oregon is ready for a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake off our own coast, and the resulting Tsunami. We are not fully prepared.

I don't believe we could ever be prepared enough for such a catastrophy and there will not be time to do anything but run to higher ground.

I read today that people expect sirens to sound. If we have a 9.0 Earthquake, sirens may or may not sound depending on damage. The Earthquake IS your warning. If you feel the earth move - run, don't drive, don't walk, run to higher ground. DO NOT go to the beach.

What else can we do to prepare ourselves?

Here is my personal check list:

Have an emergency kit at home AND in my car so that I can take care of myself for a few days if I have to. (with a coat - it is the coast after all)

Have a family plan - where will we meet when things settle down?

Have extra supplies and carrying cases for my pets - they will go with me.

Know the tsunami evacuation routes.

Know my neighbors and those that may need extra assistance. Know who the tourists are so that I can give them instructions also.

We may not be structurally ready for this disaster, but we can at least spend a few minutes on becoming personally prepared.

First responders will have enough to do. Don't make them respond to you if possible.

Thanks for being prepared.