Lincoln County’s Office of Emergency Management has been telling residents from one end of Lincoln County to the other, that they can survive an earthquake and the following tsunami if they prepare for it. Today, Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness Fairs were held in Yachats and Toledo. The message was the same at each location. If you’re prepared, you’re far more likely to survive than if you aren’t. A strong earthquake plus a tsunami means everyone needs a survival kit with enough food to last up to three weeks plus temporary shelter if your home is not longer safe to live in. You’ll need your prescription drugs and any other medical supplies that would last that long, because it may take a week or more for initial help to get here after a major seismic and tsunami event. All roads to the valley would likely be either broken up or covered with massive mudslides not to mention damage to bridges if they remained standing at all.
From the photos to the left, you can see what happens when cabinets are not properly latch-locked. A water heater breaks loose because it’s not secured to the wall. The gas line breaks, a spark ignites the gas, and the whole house goes up in flame. Securing your water heater to the wall is the best fire prevention there is, according to experts.
Other precautions include bolting the frame of your home to its foundation on the exterior of the house. All major electronics like big screen TV’s and computer screens should be secured and cabinets and drawers likewise should have secure clips to keep drawers and swinging doors shut.
Don’t forget your pets. They need food and water along with all their shot records and preferably a photo so they can be easily identified. To the left there is a photo of what 21 days worth of food, per person looks like. It’s largely non-perishable foods that don’t necessarily need cooking or heating before consuming. Don’t forget the can opener! Or your personal records and important papers. They also should be included in your survival kit.
Something else that was demonstrated at the Toledo Earthquake and Tsunami Preparedness Fair today was a water purification device that can produce 750 gallons an hour of safe, drinkable water straight out of a swimming pool or a creek. Each community should have a number of them.
Then there’s the issue of a tsunami. Those who live in a tsunami inundation zone need to get out as fast as they can to higher ground, preferably 100 feet above sea level or higher. Science based estimates of the kind of tsunami that could come ashore varies from 30 to 100 feet. Highway 101 that runs through Newport is a little over 100 above sea level along most stretches. But those living or working in South Beach and areas north of Newport and along the Bay Road to Toledo need to figure out how to get up the hills behind their homes in a hurry. A few practice drills probably would help, keeping in mind that a Cascadia earthquake could send a tsunami ashore within 15 to 20 minutes.
In the final picture is Toledo Mayor Ralph Grutzmacher talking with Cece Pratt of the Red Cross. Mayor Grutzmacher reminds everyone that Toledo will likely become a sort of refugee center following a quake or tsunami. He says Toledo has set aside clear areas for “settlements” that will be needed to accommodate “visitors” while they and Toledo townspeople wait for relief from the outside world. Lincoln County Emergency Services Coordinator Jenny Demaris says there are a number of scenarios that could play out, including waits of up to one to three weeks before substantial relief from the rest of the country can filter in. It’s likely to be by air since all roads and bridges would be impassable. Ships would show up off the Yaquina Bar and probably sit in line waiting to unload their food, medical supplies and other life necessities. The continuous drone of helicopters overhead would keep the sky buzzing all hours of the day and night.
In the end, emergency preparedness experts say it all comes down to being prepared. To help you be just that, you can read about everything there is to know about coping with the one-two punch of an earthquake and tsunami. It’s all on the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Emergency Preparedness website. Just click here. Those who would like more help understanding all this or those withs special needs can call Lincoln County Sheriff’s office Emergency Services Coordinator Jenny Demaris at 541-265-4199 or e-mail her at VDemaris@Co.Lincoln.OR.US Demaris says each Lincoln County city has an emergency services official who can also help you.