Cascadia Rising Begins Next Week
Local agencies planning for the Cascadia Rising event met today for the final planning prior to the large scale exercise June 7-10.
For more than a year, emergency management, local public safety agencies and community partners have been planning for the multi-state Cascadia Rising large scale exercise that will be held next week. The exercise will test state and county preparedness measures for a massive earthquake that could devastate large areas along the West Coast. The exercise scenario is meant to simulate the catastrophic impacts of a Cascadia Subduction Zone magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami.
Over 50 counties, plus major cities, tribal nations, state and federal agencies, private sector businesses, and non-governmental organizations across three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – will be participating in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2016 Exercise. In addition, British Columbia and the government of Canada will be linking their earthquake readiness exercise to Cascadia Rising. Other key partners include major U.S. military commands including U.S. Northern Command and U.S. Transportation Command that will be conducting simulated strategic airlift and actual maritime disaster logistics exercises, along with National Guard field exercise play as part of Cascadia Rising.
Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC/ECCs) at all levels of government and the private sector will activate to conduct a simulated field response operation within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands.
Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. One of the primary goals of Cascadia Rising is to train and test this whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.
- Indonesia (2004): M9.1 — 228,000 fatalities
- Chile (2010): M8.8 — 500 fatalities
- Japan (2011): M9.0 — 18,000 fatalities
Although Kootenai County is not inside the anticipated physical impact area, this region would feel significant impacts from the evacuees and displaced individuals. “This is a great opportunity to test local emergency plans that will demonstrate our ability to host and provide assistance to evacuees from outside the area, at the same time supporting the needs of our local communities impacted by a large influx of disaster victims,” said Sandy Von Behren, director of Kootenai County Emergency Management.
Throughout the four day event, the public may see an increased level of first responders around the fairgrounds and airport – but there will be signage indicating that a training exercise is occurring. Additionally, participating agencies and businesses will not be affected for normal day to day business.
Additional information about the Cascadia Rising Exercise can be found here.