A Who’s Who of Lincoln County politics, law enforcement and fire-rescue gathered at Oregon Coast Community College Tuesday to be awarded plaques and signs designating that Lincoln County and it’s political and emergency services districts, have earned the NOAA designation as a Tsunami Ready and Storm Ready County.
Sheriff Dennis Dotson led off the welcome and discussions why the last year has been so critical for Lincoln County. In the face of a notable chance of a major earthquake hitting the Oregon Coast with an ensuing tsunami to follow, city, special district and county government officials banded together to ensure that every resident in Lincoln County knows of the threat and what to do about it in terms of self-sufficiency as well as mutual cooperation that can produce a meaningful margin between life and death during a major disaster.
City and county government leaders and members of law enforcement, their volunteer organizations along with fire departments and their volunteers as well, were honored by NOAA for aggressively informing their communities about where to go for information about a possible tsunami – where higher ground can be most easily accessed, and how to provide oneself and their families the food, shelter and medical supplies they’ll need until the coast is rescued by outside help pouring in from the valley and from air drops and ships ferrying supplies ashore.
As has been said, it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to save itself from needless injury and loss of life when we can all plan and prepare for such events. The NOAA TsunamiReady and StormReady program has been well learned by Lincoln County law enforcement and fire rescue agencies coupled with comprehensive coordination by Lincoln County Emergency Management. Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT), made up of citizen volunteers, are also a critical component in disaster response and recovery. Citizen and law enforcement Search and Rescue Teams along with citizens Amateur Radio Operators also play a crucial role in rescue operations and by supplementing radio communications within the county as well as throughout the region.
County and emergency services agencies in Lincoln County held numerous town hall meetings where residents were informed on what to have in their homes and businesses to help them survive severe storms as well as the notorious Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake and tsunami – what to store for emergency food, medical and other supplies – where established evacuation pathways lead to higher ground after a quake and what to bring with them.
But this public agency training and public education process doesn’t end with the certificates issued on Tuesday. An ongoing program of disaster preparedness and continual public education will remain in place to keep important information top of mind for all Lincoln County residents. Residents are encouraged to acquire Oregon Department of Geology maps and practice evacuation routes to higher ground so that if an earthquake happens at night, they can still make their way in the dark to their area’s public gathering spot, or “assembly area,” as they are officially termed. Evacuation maps are also available www.OregonTsunami on line.
And as always, the Lincoln County Emergency Management Office is available to answer questions and direct residents to resources that can make them Tsunami and Storm Ready as well. They’re available by clicking here.