Union County to Participate in Region-wide Cascadia Rising Exercise
May 23, 2016

Several agencies throughout Oregon, Idaho and Washington will be participating in the Cascadia Rising Earthquake exercise next month. Cascadia Rising is based on the Cascadia Subduction Zone which is a convergent plate boundary that stretches from Vancouver Island to northern California. Subduction zone earthquakes are said to be the most powerful earthquakes known to occur, and can exceed a magnitude of 9.0. While Union County is located far from the center of the subduction zone, it is possible that extreme shaking may be felt for several minutes in Eastern Oregon. The shaking could affect older unreinforced masonry buildings, utilities, and other structures. Roads and bridges closer to the epicenter may be severely affected resulting in transportation implications to Union County. Local affects may create the possibility of mass casualties throughout Union County in addition to the long term effects on utilities and commodities such as liquid fuel and natural gas.

Union County Emergency Services is preparing to join in this drill on June 9, 2016. The exercise in Union County will involve several key volunteers and local agencies, including Cove and Imbler quick response teams, Elgin and Union ambulance services, La Grande Rural Fire District, City of La Grande fire and ambulance, Grande Ronde Hospital, Center for Human Development and Life Flight. Several “accident scenes” will be involved including areas in Elgin, Union and La Grande requiring transport to Grande Ronde Hospital. The exercise will allow the agencies to test their capabilities by practicing working together during a widespread disaster with limited available resources from agencies outside of the county.

Individuals can prepare for an emergency by developing their own family communication plan, building an emergency kit for the home and vehicle, and by helping each other by knowing your neighbors, their special needs and available community resources. More information on emergency preparedness can be found at www.union-county.org on the Emergency Services web page.