Getting Ready: Cascadia Rising

Last week, Oregon Department of Energy staff participated in Cascadia Rising – a huge, four-day exercise to practice how we would respond when the “big one” hits.

We know that Oregon could be hit with a catastrophic earthquake at any time. The Cascadia Subduction Zone sits along 700 miles of the west coast from Northern California to British Columbia. If and when a Cascadia earthquake hits, we expect widespread damage to our state. Oregon state and local officials will work together to provide lifesaving and life sustaining services.

After an emergency, our agency will be responsible for implementing the Oregon Fuel Action Plan, which outlines the steps we’ll take to bring fuel into the state for emergency services as quickly as possible. There are no fuel refineries in Oregon, and we expect that most – if not all – Oregon-based fuel holding tanks and pipelines will be destroyed in a large earthquake. We will work with federal agencies and the military to secure bulk fuel supplies to support the state’s priority missions.

The Cascadia Rising exercise began with a simulated 9.0 earthquake at 8am on Tuesday, June 7, resulting in a tsunami and aftershocks. Thousands of people, including State of Oregon employees, tribes, private companies, nonprofits, the states of Washington and Idaho, and British Columbia mobilized to practice their responses. There were also five full-scale military exercises. ODOE staff practiced the first step of the Oregon Fuel Action Plan, and responded to the statewide Emergency Coordination Center.

Thinking about and planning for a catastrophic natural disaster is scary. But the lessons we learn during exercises like this will help us become better prepared.

You can get prepared, too:

Cascadia Rising gives lessons in seismic preparedness
Paris Achen in the Portland Tribune, June 14, 2016

Rescue crews practice for ‘catastrophe like nothing we have ever seen’
Tony Hernandez in The Oregonian, June 7, 2016

Responders hone parachuting, other skills at Cascadia Rising
Rachel La Corte in the Statesman Journal, June 10, 2016

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