Great Oregon ShakeOut Day prepares residents for earthquakes

Over 540,000 Oregonians registered to say they were going to participate in the drill.

Posted: Oct 21, 2021 7:09 AM
Updated: Oct 21, 2021 11:13 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Forget the pandemic for just a moment. On Thursday, emergency managers in Oregon are concerned about another disaster: earthquakes.

At exactly 10:21 a.m., Oregonians were encouraged to participate in The Great Oregon ShakeOut earthquake drill in preparation for a potentially devastating quake.

Students at O'Hara Catholic School participate in a Great Oregon ShakeOut drill.

The drill asks all Oregon residents to do three things:

  • Drop onto hands and knees.
  • Cover head and neck and crawl to a sturdy desk or table if one is nearby.
  • Hold on until the shaking stops.  

Over 540,000 Oregonians registered to say they were going to participate in the drill. That includes businesses, schools, families and others.

Althea Rizzo is the geologic hazards program coordinator for the Oregon Office of Emergency Management.

Rizzo said during a webinar last week that following those three, simple steps is the best option, and warns against trying to get run outside during the event of an earthquake.

“Sometimes what happens is you'll see the shedding of the bricks into the sidewalk. And that's why we recommend people not try to run out of buildings, because stuff is falling down. That's why dropping, covering, holding under something very, very sturdy, can help save your lives even if your home collapses down,” Rizzo said.

After the initial earthquake ends, there’s other concerns like a tsunami along the coast. Rizzo said if you are on the coast, and you feel a strong earthquake, get to high ground as soon as possible. Don't wait for anyone to tell you that a tsunami is coming.

“If you feel an earthquake on the coast, just assume one is coming because that will save your life,” Rizzo said.

The last big Cascadia subduction zone earthquake happened in 1700. Those types of big earthquakes usually happen about every 500 years.

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