This week officials from local agencies in Clatsop County held a final planning meeting for Cascadia Rising, the largest-ever regional exercise supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Region X that will include local, state, tribal and federal partners.
Cascadia Rising is scheduled to occur June 7-10 in Oregon, Washington and Idaho and will simulate the first four days following a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami.
The scenario for Cascadia Rising is a magnitude 9.0 earthquake – equal in power to the devastating earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in 2011. Cascadia Rising will help ensure emergency response partners are working together to provide decision-makers with information to implement programs and policies that will save lives and property. The lessons learned in Cascadia Rising will be used to update local, tribal and state government, private and non-governmental organizations’ large-scale earthquake response plans.
In addition to local participants, there will be a major military presence, including more than 800 soldiers, 60 ground vehicles and air assets, and about a dozen special teams practicing life-safety and rescue missions.
Most military activities will be held at Camp Rilea Armed Forces Training Center, but some will take place in the community. Rotary and fixed-wing air units will conduct aerial assessments throughout the county, and medical field hospitals will be set up at the Astoria Airport and Astoria Middle School on June 7.
Thanks to Camp Rilea’s large role as host to military teams participating in the exercise, Clatsop County is one of the few Oregon counties provided opportunities to interface with the military resources during Cascadia Rising.
“Cascadia Rising will provide local agencies, non-governmental organizations, private sector and the military a unique opportunity to communicate and coordinate resources as they would in an austere, catastrophic environment—something we’ve not had much opportunity to practice during real events,” said County Emergency Manager Tiffany Brown. “The lessons learned from this exercise will be invaluable in helping us identify gaps and make improvements to our disaster planning efforts.”
Brown added that now is a perfect time for the public to evaluate their family emergency plans and update or establish emergency kits.
(Tom Bennett-Clatsop County)