For Immediate Release
June 9, 2016
Union County Participated in Region-wide Cascadia Rising Exercise
Several agencies throughout Union County worked together today to participate in the Union County Cascadia Rising Earthquake drill. Cascadia Rising is based on the Cascadia Subduction Zone which is a convergent plate boundary that stretches from Vancouver Island to northern California. Subduction zone earthquakes are said to be the most powerful earthquakes known to occur, and can exceed a magnitude of 9.0. While Union County is located far from the center of the subduction zone, it is possible that extreme shaking may be felt for several minutes in Eastern Oregon.
The exercise in Union County involved several volunteers and local agencies, including Cove and Imbler quick response teams, Elgin and Union Volunteer Ambulance Services, La Grande Rural Fire District, City of La Grande Fire and Ambulance, Grande Ronde Hospital, Center for Human Development, American Red Cross, Oregon Department of Forestry, Life Flight and Union County Emergency Services. Nearly 150 participants were involved in the drill, including 23 patients, two which were transported by Life Flight from the Cities of Union and Elgin, and seven ambulance transfers to Grande Ronde Hospital. The exercise allowed the agencies to test their capabilities by working together during a widespread disaster with limited available resources from agencies outside of the county.
Each agency had specific objectives to practice for the day. Some of the objectives included responder safety awareness, practicing emergency planning procedures, practice communications through the joint information center, collaborating and coordinating response activities with first responders, refining response capabilities for mass casualty incidents, test response capabilities for on-duty and off-duty responders, inventory equipment needs, and working with agencies to accommodate a large influx of patients arriving via air and ground transport at the Grande Ronde Hospital.
Individuals can prepare for an emergency by developing their own family communication plan, building an emergency kit for the home and vehicle, and by helping each other by knowing your neighbors, their special needs and available community resources. More information on emergency preparedness can be found at www.union-county.org on the Emergency Services web page.