City of Wilsonville General News

Posted on: June 3, 2016

City Participates with Other Agencies in Large-Scale Earthquake Drill

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The City of Wilsonville, along with other local, state and federal agencies, is participating in the “Cascadia Rising” earthquake drill taking place June 7–10. As part of the drill, the City plans to activate the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and is engaging all appropriate City staff in the training exercise that practices and follows the National Incident Management System protocol used by all emergency responders throughout the country.

Beginning the morning of Tuesday, June 7, governments and businesses in Washington, Oregon and Idaho are conducting an emergency-training exercise simultaneously in coordination with neighboring communities, state EOCs, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and major military commands. The drill assumes that a massive 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and resulting coastal tsunami occurs that requires a substantial, coordinated emergency response. The disaster scenario is among the most challenging types of emergencies that public-safety officials throughout the region are likely to face making the exercise both realistic and complex.

“A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will be a disaster unlike anyone has ever seen,” said Ken Murphy, FEMA Regional Administrator. “Cascadia Rising will test our own preparedness. Exercises like this, ahead of a disaster, help to foster coordination and build relationships before a real-world event occurs.”

According to the City’s Public Works Delora Kerber, who serves as emergency manager, “The purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the partnerships and coordination among local, state and federal partners throughout the region.”

This exercise also serves as a reminder to all Oregonians that individual and family emergency preparedness is key to augment an effective response to an earthquake or any disaster and begin the recovery process. Ultimately, the work the City and other agencies conduct leading up to and during the exercise can translate into lives saved during what could be the country’s biggest disaster when a large-scale earthquake occurs in the Pacific Northwest.

BACKGROUND:

Cascadia Rising 2016 is in preparation for the long overdue Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake and consequent tsunami that may devastate the California, Oregon, Washington coastlines. Lying mostly offshore, the plate interface is a giant fault approximately 700 miles long. At this location, the set of tectonic plates to the west is sliding (subducting) beneath the North American plate. The movement of these two plates is neither constant nor smooth; ultimately, these plates are stuck. The stress is continuously building until the fault will suddenly break, likely resulting in an earthquake and also potentially a tsunami.

Cascadia Subduction Zone History: According to the Pacific Northwest Seismic Network the last known CSZ megathrust earthquake occurred in January, 1700. Geological evidence indicates that 9.0M+ earthquakes have occurred at least seven times in the last 3,500 years which equates to an interval of 400 to 600 years between major tremors. As the CSZ follows this timeline, the Pacific Northwest should be preparing for the no-notice event through major exercises such as Cascadia Rising.

Learn more about the Cascadia Rising exercise.
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