Earthquakes & Tsunamis
Recent research has confirmed that the Oregon Coast is subject to a significant risk of large earthquakes associated with what is known as the Cascadia subduction zone. Such an earthquake will cause extensive damage. These earthquakes can generate tsunamis that will inundate low lying areas requiring evacuation to higher ground. The earthquake and subsequent tsunami that occurred in Japan in 2011 was caused by a subduction zone earthquake similar to one that might occur off the Oregon Coast. Earthquakes originating in the Willamette Valley can also impact the Oregon Coast. The amount of damage an earthquake causes depends on many factors, but there is much one can do to reduce the likelihood of serious injury, loss of life, and damage to the home, as well as the make recovery easier after the earthquake.
Before An Earthquake
1. Determine places in your home and work place that you can move to for safety during an earthquake.
Seismic Safety in the Home Look around your home and do the following to minimize the risk of injury in an emergency:
1. Strap the hot water heater to the wall. Use heavy plumbers’ strap wrapped completely around the water heater, both top and bottom, and lag bolt it to the nearest studs. This reduces the risk of injury and preserves the tank as a source of clean water.
Seismic Retrofitting of Houses Existing houses can be retrofitted at low to moderate cost to significantly reduce the amount of damage sustained in an earthquake. Consult a qualified architect or engineer for advice, particularly if your house has big expanses of windows, large spans, an unusual configuration, or is built on piers.
During an Earthquake
If indoors: STAY INDOORS. Take cover under a desk or table, stand in door ways, halls, or against inside walls. Stay away from windows, mirrors, skylights, furniture, or objects that may fall over.
If outdoors: Move to an open area away from buildings, power lines, walls, and trees.
On the road: Stop in the safest place available away from buildings and other hazards, such as overhead power lines and stay in the vehicle.
Following an Earthquake
1. Implement your household evacuation plan and evacuate to the closest assembly area or other area outside the tsunami inundation zone.