A BLUEPRINT FOR “THE BIG ONE” IN OREGON
Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise
Science points to a large 8.0-9.0 magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake ripping across the 800-mile CSZ fault line once every 200 to 500 years. The last major earthquake and tsunami occurred in 1700, which means authorities need to prepare now for potential catastrophe that could endanger eight million lives. For the Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise, the largest emergency preparedness drill in the Pacific Northwest, E & E worked with local, tribal, and state agencies to test and strengthen a coordinated response.
Across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and one Canadian province, 50+ counties, cities, tribal nations, state and federal agencies, private sector businesses, and nongovernmental organizations participated in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise. E & E’s challenge was to provide the Oregon Office of Emergency Management (OEM) and its statewide partners with exercise planning, facilitation, and documentation. Within a four-month planning window, E & E worked with partners with varying capacity and at different stages in the planning process to develop a coordinated response to a CSZ event.
Technical support both prior to and during the exercise focused on building awareness and functional tools. E & E built a Web-based resource center that provided key participants from the nearly 50 participating Oregon agencies access to a central location for exercise materials, training, and guidance documents. We facilitated meetings to set and align objectives, define needs, uncover challenges, and create solutions. With an understanding of the diverse needs and goals in place, we maximized training participation through a combination of in-person and remote training.
Defined Roles and Actions
As testimony to the robust support of E & E’s Web-based tools, in-person support, and well-defined planning and training processes, the training achieved the agency integration that was critical to its success. Partners statewide came to the table engaged, equipped, and fully prepared to participate, despite the aggressive timeline. For the first time under one coordinated project, all nine tribes in Oregon participated jointly in an exercise. Based on post-exercise evaluation and after action reporting, local and tribal partners walked away with a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses in the event of a CSZ catastrophe, in addition to tailored solutions.
“E & E provided invaluable feedback directly related to the development of our injects, as well as assisted in the creation of our evaluator guides. The representative assigned to us was proficient in the field, professional, and provided invaluable expertise within our SimCell.”
City of Eugene Senior Emergency Management Coordinator