The Big One: How can you prepare now for aftermath of next Cascadia megaquake?


    Oregon faces the threat of a 9.0 magnitude earthquake and tsunami that would hit the 700-mile Cascadia Subduction Zone, rippling from the coastal counties and impacting much of the state and neighboring Washington

    EUGENE, Ore. - The last time a 9.0 earthquake shook the Cascadia Subduction Zone, the shaking lasted for 5 minutes.

    The coastline of northern California, Oregon and Washington suddenly dropped 3 to 6 feet.

    And a devastating tsunami surprised Japan around midnight local time.

    The year was 1700, so no global warning systems existed.

    Now scientists say the Pacific Northwest is due another megaquake.

    This time, there are seismometers and early warning systems.

    There are also millions of people living in cities in the area most at risk from the Big One, including everyone west of the Cascades in Oregon.

    When the shaking stops, Oregon's Office of Emergency Management says people need to be ready to be self-sufficient for two weeks.

    That's two weeks of food, two weeks of water, two week of medicine - whatever you need.

    It isn't just about protecting you and your own family.

    Preparing yourself helps everyone.

    The more people who can sustain themselves in the aftermath, the easier it will be for city and state officials to focus on bringing things back online.

    "If people are ready for two weeks," said Mel Damewood, chief water officer at the Eugene Water & Electric Board, "that gives us two weeks to get out there and restore the water system and the electrical system and whatever public works systems need to be replaced.”

    But 14 days worth is a lot of supplies to have tucked away, and there are two main reasons Jen Connors with EWEB says people don't even get started collecting supplies.

    "One is cost, and two is just being overwhelmed by the process," she said. "Where do I start, how am I going to store all that water?"

    Enter the Pledge to Prepare.

    It's a 12-month program from EWEB that breaks down that big disaster kit into 12 pieces.

    "We think of it like if you're trying to save for a big financial goal, like you want to put a down payment on a house or a vacation, trying to save all at once can be overwhelming and you might not get very far," she said.

    Each month, you get just a couple of tasks to complete or supplies to put away bit by bit.

    If you follow the steps, by the end of the year, you've got yourself a two-week disaster kit.

    PART 2 | Cameron Walker reports #LiveOnKVAL Thursday, Feb. 14, at 11 p.m. on Preparing for the Big One

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