ODOE Strengthens Emergency Fuel Planning

In April, Deanna Henry, an emergency preparedness manager at ODOE, presented at Oregon Prepared – an annual conference organized by Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management and the Oregon Health Authority.

The conference drew 470 participants and, not surprisingly, focused heavily on preparing for and responding to a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake. Deanna’s presentation, titled “Where Do We Go From Here on Fuel Planning – from Response to Recovery,” recapped a busy year of work on Oregon’s Fuel Action Plan while providing concrete next steps to improve communications and planning efforts.

In the event of a major emergency such as an earthquake, and following a declaration of emergency from the Governor, ODOE has responsibility for the state’s fuel allocation. About two years ago, Deanna began a process to update and enhance strategies for ensuring bulk fuel supplies are available for emergency services and other key tasks following a catastrophic event. The result was a draft Fuel Action Plan, which we tested twice last year during federal emergency response exercises.

Those exercises – which brought together people from Oregon agencies, governments, and communities – helped us test our draft plan and identify gaps of knowledge and areas to improve.

Deanna and partners across Oregon are integrating lessons learned into an updated version of the plan. Currently, she’s working with all 36 Oregon counties to identify backup communications capabilities and contact information, and prioritize county roads that connect to state lifeline roads. Immediately following an emergency, supplies would likely be delivered through air support, but for longer-term emergency response, roads will become increasingly important. ODOE also built up a new fuel allocation database, which allows us to better connect with counties and share information.

We’ll continue working with counties and other stakeholders, including utilities statewide, as we prepare to release the finalized Fuel Action Plan this summer. Learn more about our emergency preparedness program on our website.

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