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Cascade Rising: Drill simulates response to 9.0 earthquake in Lane County, Oregon

Lane County Emergency Service teams are taking part in the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill through the end of the week.Local agencies are combining forces to simulate their response to a big disaster. (SBG Photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - Imagine this nightmare scenario:

Power lines are down.

A school bus full of kids is in the river.

Hospitals in Eugene and Springfield are overflowing with patients.

Thankfully, this not happening. It's all a drill - to prepare for what is likely inevitable: a massive 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

Lane County Emergency Service teams are taking part in the Cascadia Rising earthquake drill through the end of the week.

Local agencies are combining forces to simulate their response to a big disaster.

The prognosis for Lane County and Oregon isn't good: A massive earthquake damages buildings and infrastructure across the region, followed minutes later by a tsunami wave that inundates the Oregon Coast.

That's why officials are preparing for the worst.

"We've got a bus in a river filled with children. We've got an overpass that's collapsed. We've got gas leaks and power lines down. We have major crashes on a highway," said Linda Cook, the county's emergency service director. "And of course these are all simulated exercise scenarios."

Cook said they are practicing having communication problems with the Florence area and how to deal with that situation.

The drill is being held at the National Guard Armory in Springfield. Cook said it may turn out to be the best place to set up if - and when - the real earthquake happens.

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