Northwest ill prepared for the “Big One.”


Big  Island ARRL News, 12 March 2017, 15:55 hrs, UTC, Post #143.

Source:

http://www.nwnewsnetwork.org/post/northwest-status-wake-call-big-one

Accessed on 12 March 2017, 15:55 hrs, UTC.

Author:  Tom Banse.

Please click link to read the full story.

Comment:

Washington State and Oregon Emergency Management Divisions have published a 42-page review of last June’s  “Cascadia Rising” emergency preparedness exercise.  The report is both sobering and alarming.  According to reporter Tom Banse, the outcome of the 4-day exercise employing over 20,000 people comes as a sobering and alarming shock. Banse says “governments at all levels are ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the ‘Big One'”.

Oregon Emergency Management Director Andrew Phelps says a high priority for his staff is to improve communications capability “for when telephones and the internet are down.”  For this situation, he wants to tap the expertise of Amateur Radio operators.  He also wants communities to encourage residents to get their Amateur Radio licenses, train for emergencies, and offer help when required.

Phelps adds these observations as well:

“The exercise showed that there exists no integrated plan among local, tribal, state, or federal agencies to manage the staging and further deployment of intrastate mutual aid response resources into Oregon following a catastrophic event,” read one of the observations in Oregon’s post-game analysis.”

“A catastrophic earthquake with millions of displaced people would require a massive response from outside the affected region. Emergency planners concluded that they need to develop a more robust plan for how to “push” aid out to wide areas where the local capability to request and manage relief would likely be compromised.”

“I am encouraged by the momentum this exercise has created,” Phelps wrote in a forward to his agency’s 42-page After-Action Report.

Reporter Banse notes some other deficiencies uncovered during the exercise:

“The analysis also reiterated a previously identified weakness in fuel storage and distribution. Lack of fuel “would significantly impair statewide response and life sustainment operations immediately following a catastrophic earthquake, and significantly delay the start of immediate recovery efforts,” the Oregon report concluded.”

A cautionary tale for all of us.  Although this exercise involved radio amateurs living in the northwest continental United States, the lessons could also apply to those of us who call Hawaii home.  We, too, have experienced earthquakes, tsunamis, and disruption of public services.  Are we prepared?  You can help your community by joining volunteer programs such as ARES, RACES, SATERN, CERT, and Skywarn.


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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii Island, ARRL Pacific Section