Today at 10:18am, it was the launching of The Great Oregon Shake Out, simulating a large Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake and accompanied by a large tsunami. All participants were expected to drop to the floor, duck under something sturdy and just hang onto it four up to five minutes.
Once the shaking stops, everyone immediately either walked or ran to higher ground. Those at Hatfield Marine Science Center aimed their flight path toward Oregon Coast Community College on SE 40th. About 100 participants walked the nearly one mile route to the hill just north of the of the college on 40th, some making the journey in just under 12 minutes; others taking 15 to 20 minutes. Tsunami experts predict that after a major offshore earthquake, the resultant tsunami could arrive between 15 and 20 minutes. It may not arrive with full fury for sometime after that time. The Japanese Tsunami on March 11, 2011, arrived slowly, then accelerated dramatically after about the first five minutes. However, scientists say expecting an Oregon tsunami to act just like the Japanese Tsunami is probably unjustified.
Hatfield Marine Science Center officials say they’re telling all their employees that immediately following an earthquake, get to any high ground as fast as you can, any way you can. Safe Haven Hill at the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge is the marine center’s recommended evacuation point in the event of a local earthquake.
Other aspects of the The Great Shake Out involved information relating to how much emergency food to have at home (two weeks worth), or in one’s car (whatever you can comfortably pack in it), depending on where people are when ‘the big one’ hits. Other disaster preparedness things include first aid kits, water, pet food, prescription drugs if needed, personal papers, and two way hand-held radios for family members. Also have a distant relative or friend you can get through to who can relay to others that you’re okay and not to worry.
Estimates of help from the outside world vary from a week to a month, so emergency supplies are critical. You’ll be luckiest if you don’t live within a tsunami inundation zone. If you don’t, figure out how to hunker down in your home, if it’s not too damaged. Outside tents are handy if you don’t trust what’s left of your home to stay put and not fall on you. Earthquake aftershocks can continue for days after a main event so being clear of damaged buildings is obviously the smart way to go.
Prior to an earthquake, it’s always advantageous to your survival that you know a way out of whatever structures you live or work in. Secure bookcases to the walls, immobilize best you can other large objects like appliances and cabinet doors. The less stuff that’s sliding around in front of you, the less likely you are to become injured or blocked by them as you make your way outside either during or after the quake. And of course, if you can, ensure that natural gas lines are closed after the quake. If natural gas is leaking (you can smell its strong odor), get out of the area, fast.
These and other tips can be found on the Lincoln County’s Disaster Preparedness website. Click here.
For additional information on earthquake or other disaster preparedness click here.