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Oregon town prepares for the worst with tsunami drill

It's just as vital for communities to hold evacuation drills, to prepare for the aftermath of a natural disaster.
It's just as vital for communities to hold evacuation drills, to prepare for the aftermath of a natural disaster.

Local businesses are not the only organizations that need to prepare for a worst case scenario. Natural disasters can affect entire regions, and as such, it is just as vital for communities to hold table top exercises for residents to practice proper evacuation techniques in order to save as many lives as possible.

Last week, Coos Bay in Oregon did exactly that, holding a tsunami evacuation drill. Thousands participated in the event, which had been advertised about for weeks and was sponsored by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and a federal grant.

An announcement came over the radio and residents began to trek to higher ground, a trip that officials say must be done in 20 minutes in order to beat any tsunami waves. But the larger issue at hand currently is the risk of a megaquake from the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where two plates of the Earth’s crust come together miles off the coast.

According to an Associated Press article, if those two plates slip, they could send a 40 foot surge of water, moving at the speed of a jetliner, into Northern California, the Oregon coast and Washington. Geologic evidence shows the zone jolts on average every 300 to 600 years, and the last one was 312 years ago.

The Oregon Department of Geology said though that there is only a 10 percent chance over the next 30 years that the subduction zone could unleash a major earthquake and tsunami. Even so, headcounts at the eight assembly points in Coos Bay showed 2,775 people taking part in the evacuation drill.

Coos Bay residents have proven that regardless of the odds of a natural disaster, it is always good to be properly prepared and have a business continuity plan in place for businesses and communities alike. Working with a disaster preparedness consultant could aid in executing drills and finding weaknesses to improve upon to better prepare for the real thing.