Courses, Talks, and Current Events
Shake Alert now available in Oregon - Oregon.gov
The USGS ShakeAlert® Earthquake Early Warning System is available in Oregon as of March 11, 2021. ShakeAlert® uses science and technology to detect significant earthquakes quickly and send automatic alert warnings to people on mobile devices. While ShakeAlert® does not predict when or where an earthquake will occur, it can detect P-waves that are generated by an earthquake and notify people before the more dangerous S-waves start shaking the ground, providing seconds of advance warning. (In Japan, a similar system notified Tokyo 60 seconds before shaking started.) The service is free - sign up for it now. For more information, watch this short video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5hKXNVd1QU.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has posted a number of recorded webinars on disaster preparedness. The sessions are a collaborative effort between FEMA Region 2 (NY, NJ, Puerto Rico, tribal lands) and FEMA's Individual and Community Preparedness Division. Particular emphasis is placed on hurricanes and floods rather than earthquakes, but the information is relevant to other kinds of natural disasters and emergency preparedness in general. COVID related webinars are also available. Learn how the Federal Government is preparing and what their advice to communities is, and see what information is provided to local emergency managers.
Biweekly Drought Updates - Oregon Water Resources Dept.
The Oregon Water Resources Department has begun posting their biweekly drought updates for the summer season. You can check to see snowpack level, monitor current and predicted precipitation, reservoir levels, temperature, 28-day averages, flooding warnings/news, any areas where natural disasters are declared, and more. Click on the most recent report to open a PDF with a summary and various charts, including heatmaps of Oregon and the US. NOTE: 2021 is already forecasted to be dry through the summer and fire risks are high.
Towards Resilient Futures - PSU lecture series
Portland State is offering this monthly speaker series, with cutting-edge research and approaches to the resilience of urban and rural communities and systems to hazards and disasters. The speakers represent the core faculty of Portland State University’s new transdisciplinary Emergency Management and Community Resilience graduate program. The talks will critically focus on local and global issues and share pragmatic solutions. Upcoming talks include earthquake recovery efforts in Nepal, geodisaster resilience in the face of quakes, floods, and slides, and the Japan earthquake-tsunami. Don't miss it!
Also see PSU's certificate and graduate programs in Emergency Management.
Emergency Preparedness Training - NSC Certificate Program
The National Safety Council offers a certificate program in Emergency Preparedness designed for company employees. Their online emergency preparedness program can be taken at a time and pace that is most convenient for employees, who can access the program over the internet from most browsers. Once employees have completed the 8-hour program, they will receive a certificate of completion in Emergency Preparedness. The course consists of eight modules: Evacuation, Weather & Natural Disasters, Shelter in Place Emergencies
First Aid, CPR & AED, Workplace Violence, Active Shooter, Terrorism Emergencies, and Communication Before and After Emergencies.
Emergency Management Graduate Program - Portland State University
Portland State University’s new transdisciplinary Emergency Management and Community Resilience (EMCR) program is officially launched. The MS degree is designed to equip leaders to build more resilient communities and systems while serving the world in this critical time of need, incorporating a multitude of fields, ranging from anthropology to urban planning to communication. Applications are being accepted to the master’s degree and graduate certificate programs for Fall 2021 through May 31, 2022. If you are looking for career options, emergency management is an exciting, important, and growing field with opportunities to make a real difference.
Cascadia Earthquake Preparedness - OSU Extension Program Course
The Oregon State University Extension Program is offering an online course on earthquake preparedness, with an emphasis on the Cascadia Subduction Zone (Coastal Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia) where an 8.0-9.0 mega-quake will occur at some point. Material also relevant to people living near the San Andreas Fault or other areas with high earthquake risk. Four modules cover general awareness of an anticipated earthquake, what to do during and immediately following the earthquake and tsunami, what preparedness activities that can be done now, and how you can gain valuable skills to help your communities. This material is open to all, and is a great primer for folks who are new to the area or want to learn more about earthquake risks.
Community Preparedness Toolkit - Ready.gov
Ready.gov, a government site, offers step-by-step directions along with useful resources for making your community, safer, more resilient, and better prepared. The Community Preparedness Toolkit can be used to develop a community-based approach to preparedness, such as a Citizen Corps Council. Citizen Corps is FEMA's grassroots strategy to bring together government and community leaders to involve citizens in all-hazards emergency preparedness and resilience. Citizen Corps asks you to embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept was developed by the Los Angeles Fire Department in 1985, which decided that basic training in disaster survival and rescue skills would improve victims' survival rates until responders or other assistance could arrive. The training program was so successful in L.A. that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) encouraged expansion of the program to communities nationwide. CERT programs exist in many west coast cities and are free to members of the community. It's a great way to connect and learn about disaster preparedness in your area. Some of the larger programs are listed below.
Portland NET Program - Portland Bureau of Emergency Management
Neighborhood Emergency Teams (NETs) are Portland residents trained by PBEM and Portland Fire & Rescue to provide emergency disaster assistance within their own neighborhoods. NET members are trained to save lives and property until professional responders can arrive and to help others without putting themselves in harm’s way. Anyone can join, and the training is free. Portland has one of the largest and oldest CERT programs in the country.
Puget Sound CERT Program - Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority
The Puget Sound Fire CERT program serves the areas of Covington, Kent, SeaTac/Burien, Maple Valley, Fire District 37, and Fire District 43. Puget Sound residents can make a difference by using the CERT training we offer to save lives and protect property. On a normal day, emergency services personnel are the best trained and equipped to handle emergencies and we all count on them for their expertise. CERT training gives you the skills to help save and sustain lives following a disaster until help arrives. The class meets once a week for eight weeks.
U.W. CERT Program - University of Washington Emergency Management
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness for hazards that may impact their area and trains them in basic disaster response skills, such as fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. Using the training learned in the classroom and during exercises, CERT members can assist others in their neighborhood or workplace following an event when professional responders are not immediately available to help. CERT members also are encouraged to support emergency response agencies by taking a more active role in emergency preparedness projects in their community.
L.A. CERT Program - L.A. Fire Department
The LAFD Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Unit provides disaster preparedness training courses throughout the City free of charge, year-round. Training course options range from in-depth multi-week CERT Training to single-day courses on various emergency preparedness topics. Read more about Los Angeles Community Emergency Response Teams on the L.A.F.D. website. CERT members receive 17 1/2 hours (one day a week for seven weeks) of initial training, free of charge within the city of Los Angeles to anyone 18 or over. Classes are taught year-round, Monday-Friday, morning, afternoon, or evening, by an experienced LAFD Firefighter.
San Francisco NERT Program - San Francisco Fire Department
S.F.'s Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) program is a free training program for individuals, neighborhood groups and community-based organizations in San Francisco. Through this program, individuals will learn the basics of personal preparedness and prevention. The training also includes hands-on disaster skills that will help individuals respond to a personal emergency as well as act as members of a neighborhood response team.
South San Francisco CERT Program - City of South San Francisco
The South San Francisco Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program will train individuals in neighborhoods, businesses and industries in emergency preparedness and basic disaster response techniques. The training will enable them, as volunteers, to assist emergency service personnel during a disaster.
A selection of recent news articles on The Big One.
OPB Unprepared - Oregon Public Broadcasting
Articles about preparing for a major earthquake in the Cascadia Subduction Zone, where 8.0-9.0 earthquakes occur approximately 5 times every 1000 years. The last one was a 9.0 in 1700, 320 years ago.
These articles are a good starting point for learning about earthquake risk in the Pacific Northwest and how to prepare for The Big One.
A documentary film, also titled Unprepared, is available as well.
The Big One: Your Survival Guide - Southern California Public Radio 2018
When The Big One hits it’ll take under two minutes for more than 10 million Southern Californians to lose internet, power, and a sense of security. Host Jacob Margolis and producer Misha Euceph take you on a journey to understand what the catastrophic earthquake will mean for Los Angeles, the U.S. and the world. This is what you need to know to survive.
Both the San Andreas Fault in California and the Cascadia Subduction Zone in the Pacific Northwest will experience a major (8.0-9.0) earthquake in the future.
The Big One is Coming. What will Happen to Portland? - Portland Monthly 2/2/2018
Think of Oregon geology as a clock, measuring time in earthquakes—46 major coastal quakes over the last 10,200 years. Tick: a magnitude 8 on the Richter scale. Tock: a magnitude 9. On average, a major quake uncorks in this area every 243 years, the last one on January 26, 1700—318 years ago. Right. We’re overdue.
This article is a good starting point for people who want to understand earthquake risks specific to Portland and coastal Oregon.
The Big One Just Got a Little Closer - Portland Monthly 8/5/2016
Researchers at Oregon State, working with Camosun College in British Columbia and Instituto Andaluz de Ciencias de la Tierra in Spain, have found that the average time between massive Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquakes is 50 to 100 years less than previous estimates. The Cascadia Subduction Zone is divided into several sections. The frequency of quakes for the northern section stretching from Astoria to Vancouver was reduced from 500-540 years to 430 years.
How to Prepare Water for the Cascadia Quake - Portland Monthly 9/1/2016
When the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake strikes, everyday life in the Pacific Northwest will change dramatically. Oregon's infrastructure is woefully out of date for the event. It will take a while for supplies to trickle in to those affected. Experts say it could take two weeks. That means you should have your own supply of water ready. The Red Cross recommends 1 gallon of water per person per day. That means you need 14 gallons of water per person.
The Really Big One - New York Times 7/13/2015
An earthquake will destroy a sizable portion of the coastal Northwest. The question is when. The next full-margin rupture of the Cascadia subduction zone will spell the worst natural disaster in the history of the continent, outside of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
Cascadia Subduction Zone FAQs
Portland Maps - City of Portland
This is an interactive site that displays information about Portland neighborhoods. You can pan and scroll to see any neighborhood in the Portland area, or you can enter in an address to see information about that address. The risk of earthquake damage is displayed on a color-coded map, where red indicates high earthquake hazard, orange indicates moderate earthquake hazard, and yellow indicates low earthquake hazard.
For earthquake risk information, enter in an address, scroll down, and click on "Public Safety" to see the earthquake links (Portland Hills and Cascadia faults).
BEECN - Portland Bureau of Emergency Management
Portland maintains Basic Earthquake Emergency Communication Nodes (BEECN) all over the city where people can go for information after a a major earthquake. The BEECN nodes are manned by PBEM volunteers. For more information, go to the PBEM BEECN page.
Note that only information will be available at the nodes. There will not be medical supplies, water, or other necessities, although the nodes may be used later for distribution hubs for disaster relief.
Our Earthquake Essentials Kit comes with a paper copy. If you don't have one, click the image to download or use the link at the top for more information.
Geohazards Viewer - Oregon Dept. of Geology
This interactive map shows different geological hazards across the Pacific Northwest, including earthquake fault lines.
The icons on the top left can be used to select a base map and one or more overlays with information. Try selecting them all (top right of layer widgit) and de-selecting the ones you don't want.
Oregon Resilience Plan - State of Oregon.
The State of Oregon's Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission (OSSPAC) prepared this report in 2013. It's the most comprehensive report on the risk of a major earthquake in Oregon.
NPMS Public Viewer - National Pipeline Mapping System
This great interactive site will show you where major natural gas and hazardous liquid pipelines, LNG plants, and Breakout Tanks throughout any city in the country.
Knowing where these hazards are may help you stay safe after an earthquake, particularly if you have to walk home from somewhere.
RDPO - Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization
RDPO is a partnership of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, and private-sector stakeholders in the Portland Metropolitan Region collaborating to increase the region’s resilience to disasters.
The mission of the Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization (RDPO) is to build and maintain regional disaster preparedness capabilities in the Portland Metropolitan Region through strategic and coordinated planning, training and exercising, and investment in technology and specialized equipment.
ShakeAlert - Oregon.gov
ShakeAlert® is an earthquake early warning (EEW) system for the west coast that detects significant earthquakes so quickly that alerts can reach many people before shaking arrives. ShakeAlert is not earthquake prediction, rather a ShakeAlert message indicates that an earthquake has begun and shaking is imminent.
ShakeAlert® is available now! Sign up for it now, and be alerted in the event of an earthquake. For more information, watch this short video at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5hKXNVd1QU.
Service Downtime- Oregon Resilience Plan
The Oregon Resilience Plan provides the most accurate information about how our infrastructure will be affected, including an estimate of service outages after a major earthquake. Some services will return within a couple months, but running water and sewer systems will take longer.
This is a national program, coordinated by state, for anyone to register to participate in a yearly earthquake drill on International Shake-Out Day, always the third Thursday of October. All major authorities and aid organizations participate, and you can too.
Emergency Toilet Project - Regional Disaster Preparedness Organization
The RDPO has a site with information about how to set up an emergency toilet after a disaster. After an earthquake, sewer lines may be down for many months or even years! It is important that everyone on the city sewer system have a bucket toilet and plenty of liner bags. Human waste will have to be bagged and saved separately from garbage until it can be picked up by local authorities.
Bucket toilets and extra strength liner bags are available from our store.
CREW - Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup
The Cascadia Region Earthquake Workgroup has information about regional efforts including early warning systems, planned infrastructural improvements, etc.
DisasterAssistance - FEMA
The Federal Emergency Management Agency is the federal agency responsible for administering aid to states and cities after a major disaster such as an earthquake. FEMA runs the DisasterAssistance website, where you can enter in your city, state and/or zip code to determine whether Individual Assistance is available to you.