On Tuesday, June 7 much of the Pacific Northwest participated in the Cascadia Rising exercise. This exercise was designed as a simulated field response to “the Big One,” the 9.0 earthquake that will devastate the area but that we cannot predict. Sammamish Citizen Corps participated in this exercise from 9am-9pm at three different locations throughout Sammamish. We were at the Trader Joe’s, QFC at Pine Lake, and QFC in Klahanie. Below you will find information about the potential “Big One” and SCCC’s participation in Cascadia Rising.
Many people may remember the New Yorker article entitled, The Really Big One, which was published last July (http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2015/07/20/the-really-big-one). This article caught people’s attention in a way that no other warning or research papers had done. As the article explains, many people know of the San Andres Fault, there was even a movie released about a devastating earthquake hitting that fault in the last year. However, there is another fault line that we must be wary of, and that is the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which runs 700 miles off the coast of the Pacific Northwest and goes from Mendocino, California up to Vancouver Island, Canada.
If you click on the link above you will see that the Juan de Fuca plate is slipping under the North American plate, however the North American plate is currently stuck, which is causing it to bulge upward and compress eastward. That pressure will not be able to hold forever, and sooner or later the North American plate will rebound like a spring, causing an earthquake that could have a magnitude between 8.7 and 9.2.
This earthquake could impact 140,000 square miles across the Pacific Northwest and seven million people. FEMA projects that nearly 13,000 people will die and another 27,000 people will be injured. History has shown that the next “Big One” is most likely closer to us than farther away. The truth is that many of us are not as prepared as we should be, and certainly not prepared for an earthquake that could devastate the entire Pacific Northwest.
This future earthquake and tsunami were the reason for the Cascadia Rising exercise from Tuesday, June 7 to Friday, June 10. Throughout that week Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC/ECCS) at all levels of government and the private sector activated to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA and major military commands. For more information about the overall exercise you can go to https://www.fema.gov/cascadia-rising-2016.
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