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Earthquakes

OREGON AT RISK (continued)
Earthquake Education, plus resources and strategies to reduce the risk from earthquakes

A downloadable PDF version (1.4 MB) of this article from
the Winter, 2001 issue of Cascadia is available; click here.

EARTHQUAKE EDUCATION
Oregon state law requires schools to have regular earthquake drills. Consequently, many children are learning to instinctively "drop, cover and hold" when they feel an earthquake. Most adults have not learned this technique.

For many years, people were wrongly told to stand in doorways during an earthquake; we now know this is one of the most dangerous places to be.

Some communities are starting Community Response Teams, where members of the general public are given basic training on how to help in many types of emergencies. Studies have shown that 80 percent of response and rescue is done by neighbors in a major earthquake.

Not all education comes from government agencies. In many communities, the news media have stories about earthquake preparation and safety. Not-for-profit groups like the Red Cross, Salvation Army, or churches can also provide information.

There are many resources to help, including DOGAMI, Oregon Emergency Management (OEM), The Institute for Home and Business Safety, the US Geological Survey (USGS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and others (see links below).

Scientists agree that there will be a Cascadia subduction zone earthquake in Oregon’s future. Whether it will be a series of magnitude 8 quakes, or a single magnitude 9, no one can tell. Nor can anyone predict when it will happen. The fault has an irregular history of earthquakes, some more than 1,000 years apart, some less than 200 years apart. The last quake was 300 years ago, so the next event could be tomorrow, or several hundred years from now.

(Learn more about Historic earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest)

We do know now is the time to take prudent steps to protect ourselves from the many earthquakes, great or small, that will be part of our future.

The Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries will continue its unique role researching and describing our actual risk. We will use that information to work in partnerships with the great variety of organizations, businesses and individuals who are interested in helping to reduce the risk. There’s also a wealth of free information that can get you started on earthquake preparedness at your home or workplace.

Twenty years ago, Oregon was thought to be fairly earthquake-free. Now we know very differently. In a short time we have made significant progress in preparing ourselves; but twenty years from now, we must be much more prepared.

(Learn more about the the science of earthquake prediction)

Klamath Falls map
Special Paper 29 looks at state-wide and county by county damage and loss estimates from earthquakes. This and many more earthquake related publications are available from the Nature of the Northwest Information Center.

Online resources for earthquake education

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