Cascadia Rising and emergency preparedness on Shoreline’s campus

cascadia rising
Shoreline Community College is committed to being prepared in emergency situations, and members of our campus community have been working hard to ensure that we are prepped and ready should a crisis situation occur. On May 3 we hosted a very successful and well attended Emergency Preparedness Kit Day; We have made the All-Hazards Training called “Get Ready Take Action!” available on Canvas; On Wed., May 25 we conducted a successful evacuation drill of the FOSS (5000) building.

Our emergency preparedness training continues with Cascadia Rising, an earthquake exercise of epic proportions involving 3 states, British Columbia, and many more affected jurisdictions. Cascadia Rising is a simulated field response operation that Director of Safety and Security, Robin Blacksmith, will take part in with the City of Shoreline.

Between June 7-10, 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. That simulated field response operation is called Cascadia Rising.

While no Cascadia Rising training scenarios will occur at Shoreline Community College, Blacksmith will bring what she learns at the City’s exercise back to campus. A full “Communications Black-Out” will be the City of Shoreline’s focus as the county and state-wide scenarios develop. All communications typically used in emergencies will be down. The challenge will be testing alternate communication methods in an effort to assess damage and injuries and to provide emergency response during a catastrophic event.

The name of the exercise comes from the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) that runs along the Pacific Northwest. A 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the CSZ and the resulting tsunami is the most complex disaster scenario that emergency management and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face. Cascadia Rising is an exercise to address that disaster.

Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a CSZ 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.

Recent subduction zone earthquakes around the world underscore the catastrophic impacts we will face when the next CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurs in our region:

  • Indonesia (2004): 1228,000 fatalities
  • Chile (2010): 8500 fatalities
  • Japan (2011): 018,000 fatalities
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The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia. This subduction zone can produce earthquakes as large as magnitude 9 and corresponding tsunamis. Scientific evidence indicates that a magnitude 8.0-9.0 earthquake occurs along the 800-mile long fault on average once every 200 to 500 years. The last major earthquake and tsunami along the fault occurred over 300 years ago in 1700. (Source: http://www.fema.gov/cascadia-rising-2016)

It’s important to know that following a major earthquake, there may be no emergency services or utilities for several days. The website “Make It Through” www.makeitthrough.org offers very important information on how to prepare yourself and your family. Their steps are simple:

  1. Make a Plan
  2. Build a Kit
  3. Help Each Other

Take these important steps now to prepare for 7-10 days on your own. Consider your residence, pets, vehicle, and work site because you don’t know where you will be when a catastrophe occurs. For further information, please contact, Robin Blacksmith at 206-546-4503 or rblacksmith@shoreline.edu.

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