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Emergency Evacuation Planning Overview
In 1993, Oregon experienced two earthquakes:
  • March 25 - magnitude 5.6 occurred southeast of Portland at Scotts Mills over Spring Break. At $30 million in damage, including the Capitol rotunda, it was the most destructive quake in property loss in Oregon´s history.
  • September 20 - magnitudes 5.9 and 6.0 occurred 15 miles northwest of Klamath Falls with two deaths and $10 million in damage.
Consequently in 1994, the State of Oregon published Sound The Alarm, a guide to prepare state government offices for emergency evacuation planning. When agencies are prepared for emergencies according to this guide, their plan meets the requirements of the local fire department and OR-OSHA rules.
 
The information here is primarily for Managers, Site Emergency Coordinators (SEC) and Evacuation Coordinators (EC). An emergency evacuation plan is required for buildings on Capitol Mall. It is recommended for the Capitol and all other large state office buildings. It applies to neither specialized state facilities nor institutions.
 
The key elements of an emergency evacuation plan are:
  1. Written plans to cover the actions that employers and employees must take to ensure occupant safety during emergencies.
  2. Plans must be approved by the local fire department.
  3. Evacuation routes are to be posted.
  4. Plans identify who has specific roles in emergencies.
  5. Management names the SEC, the ECs, and the alternates. (Appoint at least one EC for each area with 25 employees, but no less than two per floor. Name an alternate to back-up each EC and SEC.)
  6. SEC trains the ECs and alternates and schedules annual drills.
  7. ECs direct the evacuation of their assigned building areas.
  8. Agencies sharing a building are to use a single plan, tailored to the building and occupants. Plan with non-state tenants too.
  9. Develop plans for each kind of major emergency that is reasonably foreseeable.
  10. Develop plans specific to employees with disabilities.
  11. Keep plans up to date. Share building renovations with local fire department when permanent or semi-permanent walls are moved.
  12. Make written plans available to employees.
Emergency evacuation planning covers the time from discovery of an emergency until local emergency responders assume command. Important elements of emergency planning that are outside the scope of evacuation planning  are code compliance, fire prevention, quake mitigation, office security measures, recovering or maintaining continuity of essential agency services and operations, medical care, and stockpiling food and water.
 
As an aside, many people in Northwest Oregon felt the Nisqually earthquake of magnitude 6.8 in Washington. It occurred on February 28, 2001 about 11 miles northeast of Olympia.