Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management stands in Seaside, Ore., March 12 after giving tsunami preparation talks at Broadway Middle School. The hills in the background are the high ground Seaside residents may need to get to if a large earthquake and potential tsunami strikes the Oregon Coast.(Photo by Cory Grogan, Oregon Emergency Management)

Oregon Earthquake And Tsunami Awareness-Preparedness Gaining Momentum‏

March is earthquake awareness month in Oregon, and Oregon Emergency Management is conducting events up and down the Oregon Coast as part of the fourth annual, 16-day long Tsunami Road Show happening in 17 coastal communities from March 10-25, conducted Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon Emergency Management.

Rizzo, who had a turn-out of approximately 60 people at a March 11 Tsunami Prep talk in Seaside, Ore., said she is passionate about helping Oregon become more prepared for natural disasters.

“Oregon Emergency Management is mandated by legislature to improve life in Oregon after a disaster, and if something were to happen, I would not be able to sleep at night knowing I had left something undone,” Rizzo said.

The road show is happening in the midst of other significant events.

March 11 was the two year anniversary of the devastating Japan earthquake and tsunami, and Oregon’s 50-year plan to reduce earthquake and tsunami risk–called the Oregon Resilience Plan(ORP)–is scheduled for the 77th Legislative Assembly, March 14.

Voters in Oregon have shown great interest in making Oregon safer, said Jay Wilson, hazard mitigation coordinator for Clackamas County Emergency Management who is also vice chair of the Oregon Seismic Safety Policy Advisory Commission that drafted the ORP.

“We have drafted a plan and now it will be up to the elected officials, local communities and business leaders to put it to work,” said Wilson.

Oregon Emergency management is conducting the events on the Oregon Coast to encourage local residents and communities to be proactive in the event of a disaster.

Cannon Beach, Ore., is an example of a community taking matters into its own hands at the local level with leadership experienced in emergency management. The coastal town as a created an innovative pilot program with a site for a local Emergency Operation Center, 10 tsunami evacuation routes, designated shelter area, and three 20 foot shipping containers loaded with community support items.

“We are proud of what we have done here and want it to be a model for other communities,” Bill Vanderberg, emergency preparation consultant for Cannon Beach,” said.

Albany Tribune

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