Prepping for the Big One


Big Island ARRL News, 02 July 2017, 22;55 hrs, UTC, Post #244.


Accessed on 02 July 2017, 22:55 hrs, UTC.

Reporter:  Jane Stebbins (“The Curry Coastal Pilot”).

Please click link to read the full article.


Residents of coastal Oregon communities share many of the natural dangers faced by those of us who call Hawaii County our home–earthquakes, wildfires, tsunamis, and floods.  While many radio amateurs in Hawaii and across the nation were participating in the 2017 ARRL Field Day event, ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) members, FEMA workers, military reserve units, public service agencies, and law enforcement teams in Curry and Coos Counties in coastal Oregon were wrapping up their annual Concordia earthquake and tsunami disaster training, code named “The Triton 32 Exercise.”  According to public information officer Deb Simmons, radio amateurs joined their counterparts in county, state, and federal agencies in working together to solve problems brought on by disasters.    Simmons said “we’re on the lookout for problems”, so we “know how to work with each other.”  In each of the disaster scenarios, ARES plays a significant role in supporting emergency communications throughout these coastal communities.

Simmons adds that it’s not a matter of if, but when a major disaster strikes Oregon’s coastal areas:

“In the world of disasters, Curry County is most prone to forest fires and earthquakes, the latter of which will eventually occur along the Cascadia Subduction Zone, about 30 miles west and parallel to the Oregon Coast. The last time it “ripped” was in 1700.”

“When it rips again — it could be tomorrow, or it could be another 300 years from now — scientists say it will catastrophically damage 94 percent of all transportation infrastructure along the Oregon coast, kill about half the residents and devastate the area for years to come.”

“With the entire West Coast in its path, and big port cities like Portland possibly in ruins, emergency responders here believe help won’t arrive to remote areas of the state for at least three weeks.”

“It’s a fact most coastal residents realize and prepare for, but the ramifications are impossible to predict.”


The same set of scenarios could play out in the state of Hawaii, especially on Hawaii Island where earthquakes, landslides, flooding, hurricanes, and even tsunamis are part of the natural landscape.  Hawaii Island ARES teams train constantly for that unforeseen event which could strike at any time.  In coastal Oregon, relief may not come for weeks, and, with Hawaii several days shipping from the west coast, our relief could take even longer. “The Triton 32 Exercise” will help prepare our mainland friend for the inevitable.  In Hawaii, Emergency Management officials are constantly reminding us to prepare for the unexpected.  Having a family emergency kit, back up communications, and a full tank of fuel for your vehicle are prudent precautions to take, now that hurricane season has arrived.  If Oregon coastal communities are preparing for the “Big One”, we should do likewise.

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Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

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