When seismic experts talk about the Cascadia zone in the Pacific Northwest they agree on two things: a major earthquake and tsunami event is likely to happen in the next 50 years and our region is woefully unprepared for the disaster.
The Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup is holding a free preparedness event on Saturday Oct. 17 at the University of Portland Chiles Center. The ‘Prepared’ information fair will help families plan for a large scale earthquake event.
The workgroup spokesperson Susan Laarman said preparation for the big earthquake starts at home.
“The one thing we can do right away is to prepare our households,” she said. “We would like to provide that to community members at the earthquake information fair.”
There will be information tables at the event which provide tips on food and water storage, home seismic retrofits, earthquake safety and more. Advice will be provided by local businesses, non-profits and government agencies. The event is supported by the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Laarman said that an important starting point is to have a communications plan in place to contact family members and friends.
“We are all so used to being in constant contact with families, friends and loved ones because of cell phones,” Laarman said. But, cell phone towers are likely to be out of use after a large earthquake event.
“Not being in communication is going to be really different for us,” she said. Laarman urges people to write down important cell phone numbers because most people do not memorize phone numbers anymore.
The Prepared fair features disaster relief trials which are bike exercises that simulate supply runs after an earthquake. These cargo bikes which would be able to navigate streets too damaged for cars.
Community members are welcome to compete in the disaster relief trials and are encouraged to sign up on the DRT Facebook page.
Citizen Corps Community Emergency Response Teams will hold an Olympic competition at the event. The community teams have been trained in disaster response skills and will compete in search & rescue, victim care and small fire suppression events.
Laarman said that people can get overwhelmed planning for a disaster, but the best remedy is to get prepared.
“It's not that it's hard to get prepared, we just have to have the will and the knowledge to do it.”
For more information about the event, check the ‘Prepared: Earthquake Info Fair’ Facebook page.