Sunday, Jan. 26, marked the 320th anniversary of the last Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and tsunami hitting our coastline. Termed a megathrust earthquake, it had an estimated magnitude of 8.7-9.2 and involved the Juan de Fuca Plate from mid-Vancouver Island, south along the Pacific Northwest coast as far as northern California. The tsunami generated by the earthquake struck the coast of Japan.
Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) is taking advantage of this anniversary to help raise awareness of the need for people to be prepared for another such natural disaster. On Monday, Jan. 27, Gov. Kate Brown officially proclaimed Jan. 26-Feb. 1 as Cascadia Earthquake Preparedness Week. And Althea Rizzo, OEM’s geologic hazards program coordinator, said knowing what to do and how to be prepared for a large-scale earthquake — or any disaster — can help to calm fear and empower people to take action. That action, she said, includes putting together a family plan and emergency kits to be “2 Weeks Ready.”
“Being prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks is an achievable goal, and you may be more prepared than you think,” said Rizzo. “See what you already have, and you can get there over time.”
People can find a wealth of information on this topic at OEM’s webpage: www.oregon.gov/OEM.
The destruction that will be caused by a megathrust earthquake occurring off our coast is almost too much to comprehend. Without a doubt there will be effects well beyond what comes to mind when we ponder this topic. And while we don’t believe people should live with a doom-and-gloom attitude, we do think it just makes sense to take some steps to increase our survivability in the aftermath. The reality is, nearly everyone will be on their own for a period of time following such an event, so we need to take steps to prepare for that.
We would bet most area residents agree with this need to prepare. But we also believe that knowing it should be done and actually doing it are two entirely different things. It’s likely that far too many of us are aware of what we need to do but haven’t yet done it.
If you have taken the necessary steps to prepare, congratulations. If not, we challenge you to take the time to research what you need to do and then do it. We don’t know when this preparation might pay off, or even if it will ever needed, but one thing we do know, if you haven’t prepared by the time disaster strikes, it will be too late.