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Red Cross Teaches Disaster Training

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EUGENE, Ore. — An earthquake struck just off the coast of Chile. A┬álandslide partially wiped out a town in Northwestern Washington.

Natural disasters are unpredictable, but Red Cross Preparedness Coordinator Henry Soderberg says if you know what to do, you can increase your chances of survival.

“Being informed, what kind of disasters can we expect? Both the big ones and the small ones. The large Cascadia Subduction earthquake we’re expecting in the future but also how to prepare for home fires and flooding,” said Soderberg.

Soderberg says for any natural disaster, you first want to be informed.

Then you make a plan, and make sure you have a kit handy with things you might need, which would include one gallon of water per person per day, canned food, a flash light, a radio and water purifier.

“So with this earthquake you’d expect that the water lines as well as the sewage lines to be broken at the same time. So those would be mixing, you wouldn’t want to handle that water unless you have some way of purifying it,” said Soderberg.

Soderberg says the Cascadia Subduction Zone, which produces an earthquake roughly every 200 to 500 years would cause catastrophic damage in the state of Oregon, and here in Eugene.

He says the death toll would be between 2,000 and 10,000 people.

One fifth of Oregon’s gross domestic product would be destroyed, it could be up to a year before highways would be restored.

Those who attended the training say the numbers are staggering.

“We hear about these things every day, and we tend to say that it’s not going to happen to us. When you hear the presentation and see the material that’s presented, it definitely encourages you to want to be prepared,” said Eugene resident Carol Cole.

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