Five Things Every Oregonian Should Know About Earthquake Preparedness

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SALEM — When the next Cascadia subduction zone earthquake strikes the Pacific Northwest, Oregon will face the greatest challenge of our lifetimes. Scientists estimate there’s a 37 percent chance that a very large earthquake will impact Southern Oregon within the next 50 years. 

Now more than ever, it’s incredibly important that Oregonians are prepared for an earthquake.

As September marks National Preparedness Month, here are five things you should know to keep yourself and your family safe in the event that disaster strikes.

  1. Make A Plan: Know how to contact your family and reconnect if separated during an earthquake. Establish a family meeting place that will be easy to find. Ask yourselves: what’s our evacuation plan? What’s our shelter plan?
  2. Personal Preparedness Is Key: There are steps you can take now to help ensure the safety of you and your family during an earthquake. Being prepared can make a huge difference during a disaster.
  3. Be Two Weeks Ready: During a large earthquake or tsunami, much of your area’s transportation routes are likely to be destroyed. Be prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks: make sure you have food, water, trash bags, flashlights and any necessary medicines. Don’t forget supplies for your pets, too.
  4. Sign Up For Emergency Alerts And Warnings: Wireless Emergency Alerts are one of the ways public safety officials can quickly dispatch alerts and warnings during an emergency. Sign up now.
  5. Drop. Cover. Hold On: If you find yourself in the middle of an earthquake, drop onto your hands and knees. Cover your head and neck with your arms — if possible, try to crawl underneath a sturdy table or desk that’s away from windows. And hold onto that piece of furniture, if you can.

Governor Kate Brown has made it a priority to ensure the state is prepared and able to recover from the expected 9.0 magnitude Cascadia earthquake and ensuing tsunami. To protect Oregon’s communities and economy, Governor Brown released Resilience 2025: Improving Our Readiness for the Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami. Learn more.

About Author

Mike Harryman serves as Oregon’s first State Resilience Officer. The position was created in response to the Oregon Resilience Plan, the 50-year long-term planning document that addresses reducing risk and improving recovery for the next Cascadia Earthquake and Tsunami.

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