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Salem, OR—SALEM, OR. – January 25, 2017 – It occurred 317 years ago and while there's no way to know when the next Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake might hit, it's a good idea to be prepared.
Many people in the Pacific Northwest have been aware of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, but a New Yorker article by Kathryn Schulz ( in July 2015 drew national attention to the 600-mile fault that runs from northern California to British Columbia, about 70-100 miles off the Pacific coast shoreline. The last Cascadia quake occurred in this fault on January 26, 1700, with an estimated 9.0 magnitude. Currently, scientists predict that there is about a 40 percent chance that a megathrust earthquake of 9.0+ magnitude in this fault zone will occur in the next 50 years.

Schulz's article, and surrounding media attention about Cascadia, generated awareness and created some fear. But Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon's Office of Emergency Management, says that fear is often based on the unknown. Knowing what to do, and how to be prepared for a large-scale earthquake, or any disaster, can help to mitigate fear and empower people to take action. That action, says Rizzo, includes putting together a plan and emergency kits to be 2 Weeks Ready (

According to Rizzo, people are more prepared than they think.

“You probably already have many of the things you need, such as flash lights and leather gloves,” says Rizzo. “Pick up a couple items every payday and check out garage sales and thrift stores for tools and gear. Look in the garage, closets and junk drawer for items before adding to your shopping list. Being prepared to be self-sufficient for two weeks is an achievable goal. You can get there over time.”

Oregon's Office of Emergency Management suggests approaching the goal by thinking about what you need to be ready for an earthquake (or any disaster) in the first two minutes, two hours and two days after it occurs. For example:

• What to do in the first two minutes?
- Drop, cover and hold on
- Stay in place until the shaking stops; be prepared for aftershocks
• What to do in the first two hours?
- Check immediate surroundings for anyone injured and in need of help
- Evacuate, if necessary; if out of your home, determine if it is safe to enter
- Follow your family communication plan (communicate with your out-of-state contact)
• What do you do in the first two days?
- Use resources in your preparedness supplies as needed
- Check with neighbors/community members to determine who has what skills/resources, and work together to make sure everyone is safe and comfortable
• What do you do in the first two weeks?
- Add/replace necessary items to your emergency kit(s).
- Organize community members to assist with disaster recovery in your neighborhood

Oregon Office of Emergency Management has many tools and resources to be prepared for a Cascadia quake and other disasters. Check out our new website at


Cory Grogan
Paula Negele
Children & Family
Consumer Information
Natural Disasters