Tsunami wave

Some people think it is not worth preparing for an earthquake or tsunami because whether you survive or not is up to chance.

Not so! Most Oregon buildings will survive even a large earthquake, and so will you, especially if you follow these simple response guidelines and start preparing today.

If you know how to recognize the warning signs of a tsunami and understand what to do, you will survive that too, but you need to know what to do ahead of time. Government agencies and other emergency organizations cannot protect you from the next earthquake or tsunami. Even under the best of circumstances, medical aid or fire and law enforcement officials may not be able to reach you for many hours or even days. It is our responsibility as individuals, neighborhoods and communities to reduce risks, to prepare for the critical period immediately after the earthquake, and to make sure that planning for earthquakes and tsunamis has the high priority it deserves. By becoming informed, we can take actions to protect ourselves, reduce losses, and recover quickly.

• Earthquake Preparation: Cascadia Subduction Zone or on-shore earthquakes

Anchor and secure heavy appliances, furniture and glass objects to wall studs and/or other furniture items.

Know how to turn off water, gas and electricity and have the tools needed to do so.

Tie a bag next to your bed with shoes, extra glasses, gloves, poncho, flashlight or headlamp so you are ready to evacuate once the shaking stops.

Have a three-to-five day kit in your car in case you need to use it as a place of shelter until the aftershocks subside.

• Earthquake Response — If you feel an earthquake

Drop, cover and hold on until after the shaking stops, then evacuate outside to survey damages to the building.

If indoors, get under a sturdy table, hold on and be prepared to move with the table.

If in bed, stay in the bed and protect your head with a pillow.

If outdoors, find a clear spot away from buildings and trees and stay until the shaking stops.

If in a vehicle, pull over to a clear location until shaking stops.

Expect and be ready for aftershocks that could last for days after the main shock.

• Tsunami preparedness and response

A tsunami is a series of sea waves, usually caused by a displacement of ocean floor by an undersea earthquake. As tsunamis enter shallow water near land, they increase in height and can cause great loss of life and property damage.

When at the coast, know the distant and local tsunami evacuation routes for low lying areas; look for educational signs at beach entry areas and tsunami assembly area points.

A distant tsunami will take 4 or more hours to come on shore and you will feel no earthquake. The tsunami will generally be smaller than that from a local earthquake. Typically, there is time for an official warning and the National Warning Center to evacuate to safety.

A local tsunami can come on shore within 15 to 20 minutes after the earthquake before there is time for an official warning from the national warning system. Ground shaking may be the only warning you have, so evacuate quickly to high ground out of the local tsunami zone.

Do not return until the alert has been canceled and emergency officials have advised that it’s safe to return.

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