'A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will be a disaster unlike anyone has ever seen'

Eugene will take part in the four-day Cascadia Rising Drill. The exercise is designed to help cities prepare for a giant earthquake. SBG image

EUGENE, Ore. - Emergency managers hope a severe earthquake will never hit the Pacific Northwest, but since experts say the Cascadia Subduction zone could give way at any time, the community continues to prepare for "The Big One."

The four-day Cascadia Rising Drill involves Oregon, Washington and Idaho emergency agencies and Region 10 or FEMA.

Managers will simulate a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and the tsunamis that would make landfall along the coast.

Thousands of people, including military personnel, will participated in the mock response effort.

"A 9.0 Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake will be a disaster unlike anyone has ever seen," said Ken Murphy, Regional Administrator for FEMA Region 10. "Cascadia Rising will test our own preparedness. It is exercises like this, ahead of a disaster, that foster coordination and help build relationships before a real world event occurs."

Eugene will run a full emergency operations center during the drill. It will begin Tuesday.

"My priorities are with life safety, incident stabilization as well as property preservation and the environment. So we want to make sure that we're focusing on those priorities," said Kevin Holman, Eugene City manager.

Holman says the exercise will give agencies a chance to test protocols and focus on communications in the event of a large-scale disaster.

Twenty Three agencies and utilities will participate in the drill Tuesday through Friday in Lane County.

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