During the week of June 12th, you may witness some interesting activity in and around the Pacific Northwest, as well as on Bainbridge Island. But don’t be startled – it’s just a drill. And an important one: preparing for and responding to a long-expected 9.0 subduction zone earthquake and subsequent 100-foot tsunami.
A 9.0 magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake ripping across the 700-mile CSZ fault line occurs on average once every 200 to 500 years. The last major CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurred in 1700. Do some fast math and you’ll see that another one is due any day now. Recent subduction zone fault earthquakes in Indonesia, Chile, and Japan underscore the similar challenges we will face when the next CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurs in our region. Preparation is key for addressing these challenges with confidence and competence.
Cascadia Rising 2022 is how the region is preparing: by training and testing the whole-community approach to complex disaster operations. Conducting successful lifesaving and life‐sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state and federal agencies, the military, tribal nations, non‐government organizations and the private sector.
Cascadia Rising 2022 will be a four‐day functional exercise June 13-16, in which Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs) / Emergency Coordination Centers (ECCs) at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to coordinate simulated field response operations across Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Other key partners include National Guard and Department of Defense.
The focus areas and dates of training for Cascadia Rising 2022 are as follows:
- Monday, June 13: Critical Transportation Tabletop Exercise
- Tuesday, June 14: Critical Transportation and Mass Care Services Crossover
- Wednesday, June 15: Mass Care Services Tabletop Exercise
- Thursday, June 16: After-action Discussions and Evaluation
The first Cascadia earthquake plan was published in 2013 and was tested in the Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise (CR16). The plan was updated in 2017 to address power outages and lessons learned from CR16. Lessons learned from the Cascadia Rising 2022 ROC exercise will be incorporated into the plan’s next update.
“What we’re doing has genesis in what we did six years ago when we did the first major Cascadia Rising exercise,” said Washington EMD Director Robert Ezelle. “We learned about the fragility of our critical infrastructure, our transportation systems, communications, energy. We learned the critical importance of mass care. We learned the importance of public health and medical needs of people. So, coming out of that exercise, we have done a ton of work at the federal level, at the state level and at the local level.”
One takeaway from CR16 was the need for residents to be prepared to be self-sufficient for a longer period – up to 14 days. Learn preparedness tips at mil.wa.gov/preparedness.
“One of the overarching things we’re trying to communicate, not just among ourselves, is the responsibility for individuals, communities, families in Oregon and Washington to be prepared,” said Andrew Phelps, director, Oregon Office of Emergency Management. “We’re doing these exercises to prepare our communities, our infrastructure providers, our federal partners. We’re asking Oregonians and Washingtonians to do those same things, as well. Think about what they’re going to need for the first one week, two weeks, three weeks after an emergency and disaster, knowing we’re not going to have water or sewer, we’re not going to have communication and energy. What do you and your family need to do to be disaster survivors, not disaster victims? That’s a really important piece of the puzzle.”
Stay tuned for specifics on how CR22 will be playing out right here on Bainbridge Island.
The following links provide additional information: