PACIFIC NORTHWEST STRATEGY FOR EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNING (EEW) OUTREACH, EDUCATION, AND TRAINING released

Earthquake program coordinators from Oregon and Washington in coordination with CREW have finished work with hundreds of first responders and emergency management professionals in crafting a new strategy on how to effectively implement earthquake early warning systems when the strategy eventually goes public in the Pacific Northwest.
The 45-page strategy is being released today and gives a path forward for state and local governments in Oregon and Washington to contribute to the successful implementation of ShakeAlert preparedness activities. The key will be to make sure first responders have the same training and are given clearly defined roles and responsibilities. There also needs to be staff support to ensure everyone is on the same page.
The ShakeAlert system detects earthquakes and rapidly disseminates warnings to end users in potentially affected areas. ShakeAlert is currently operating as a prototype in California, Oregon and Washington. Partners, like the University of Oregon, University of Washington and the U.S. Geological Survey (UGSG), are exploring ways for the public to receive warnings in the future.
The vision calls for a fully-developed and tested ShakeAlert system that detects earthquakes and disseminates warnings to end users with public alerts that integrate with organizational systems and processes, such as utilities that automatically shut off or doors to fire stations that lift up on their own. The ultimate goal is for a broad understanding and acceptance of ShakeAlert capabilities and limitations – and the funding to make it all happen.
Washington and Oregon based the goals, objectives and activities in the strategy on input from more than 100 state, tribal, local emergency managers and more than 300 community members, including many who have had training as part of Community Emergency Response Teams. The federal government provided funding to develop the strategy.
“Oregon and Washington state, tribal, local, and business partners have spent months collaborating on this strategy,” said Maximilian Dixon, earthquake program manager for the Washington’s Emergency Management Division and CREW Vice President. “It is our roadmap to reach stakeholders and to educate the public on actions to take when they get a ShakeAlert.”
Key strategy recommendations include having dedicated staff to coordinate training sessions with public safety and emergency management officials on earthquake early warning and partnering with existing preparedness efforts, such as The Great Washington ShakeOut, which is the third Thursday in October.
The strategy also calls for the development of specific earthquake early warning preparedness education and training materials to ensure the public understands the importance of drop, cover & hold on as a protective action when an earthquake occurs.
As part of its recent budget bill, Congress allocated $22.9 million in funding last week for the continued development of the ShakeAlert system. However, none of that funding is currently designated for state- or local-level education, training and outreach on ShakeAlert or Earthquake Early Warning preparedness.

CREW Releases Business Round table Report

CREW has published a summary report from the 2012 Business Round table Series. The round tables represent a continuation of CREW’s efforts to improve resilience throughout the Cascadia region. Businesses of all sizes will find many relevant lessons and ideas to improve their preparedness efforts.

New Japan Tsunami Evacuation Report

Following the tragic 3.11 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, New Zealand’s GNS Science in collaboration with Washington State Emergency Management and other stakeholders set out to further analyze the successes of the evacuation and messaging approaches used in this event. A key element of this research was to investigate both traditional tsunami evacuation strategies used in communities, schools, etc. as well as non-traditional approaches, such as vertical evacuation techniques and draw parallels with the concepts being applied in New Zealand, Washington, and elsewhere in the United States. The report can be found here.

WSSPC Releases Tsunami Report

With support of CREW members, Western States Seismic Policy Council (WSSPC) has just completed and released a report in support of the accomplishments of the state tsunami programs and the important role they play in educating the public, especially for preparedness for a locally generated tsunami.

The report and press release can be found at: www.wsspc.org.

Vertical Evacuation Plans Could Save Thousands from Tsunamis, Studies Say

Two new federally-funded studies say vertical evacuation structures could save thousands of Washington coastal residents from deadly tsunami waves.

A series of specially constructed berms, towers, and buildings could save an estimated 24,750 residents and visitors in Pacific and Grays Harbor counties which have more than 120 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline lying only a short distance from the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Geologic studies have shown that the low-lying coastal zones of these counties have experienced Magnitude 9+ Cascadia earthquakes and tsunamis about every 300 to 500 years over the past 3,500 years.

Download PDF reports here: Greys Harbor Vertical Final, Pacific County Vertical Final

EERI releases report on Societal Impacts related to Great East Japan earthquake

A 23-page report by an EERI reconnaissance team on the Societal Dimensions of the March 11, 2011, Great East Japan (Tohoku) Earthquake and Tsunami is now available online. It covers the topics of emergency management, casualties, emergency shelter and housing, economic impacts, debris management, recovery planning, and research questions for each topic.

The EERI report is available here.

For more information on earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest please click here.  For information on preparedness please click here.