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Cascadia Rising 2016


The Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) exercise, also known as Cascadia Rising 2016, was a joint FEMA-OEM Catastrophic Earthquake and Tsunami Functional Exercise held from June 7-10, 2016.

     Cascadia Rising Volunteers     Medical Evacuation

What is the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ)?
The Cascadia Subduction Zone off the coast of North America spans from northern California to southern British Columbia. This subduction zone can produce earthquakes as large as magnitude 9 and corresponding tsunamis. Scientific evidence indicates that a magnitude 8.0-9.0 earthquake occurs along the 800-mile long fault on average once every 200 to 500 years. The last major earthquake and tsunami along the fault occurred over 300 years ago in 1700.
Over the past 10,000 years, there have been 19 earthquakes that extended along most of the margin, stretching from southern Vancouver Island to the Oregon California border, an additional 22 involved just the southern end of the fault. All earthquakes are thought to have been a magnitude 8.0 or higher.

By the year 2060, if we have not had an earthquake, we will exceed 85 percent of all the known intervals of earthquake recurrence in 10,000 years.

Expected Impacts of a Cascadia earthquake and tsunami include:

  • Ground shaking for 4-6 minutes causing massive critical infrastructure damage
  • Liquefaction and landslides causing disruption of transportation routes
  • Tsunami inundation to coastal areas
  • Up to 25,000 fatalities
  • 10,000 or more damaged structures including businesses and homes
  • 10,000 or more people in need of shelter
  • $50 billion or more in economic losses

What was the exercise about?
FEMA, state and local emergency management agencies designed a complex exercise scenario that emergency management and public safety officials in the Pacific Northwest could face: a 9.0 magnitude earthquake along the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) and the resulting tsunami.
Emergency Operations and Coordination Centers (EOC/ECCs) at all levels of government and the private sector were activated to conduct a simulated field response within their jurisdictions and with neighboring communities, state EOCs, FEMA, and major military commands.
Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state agencies, federal officials, the military, tribal nations – as well as non-government organizations and the private sector. 

Listen to the City of Kirkland's Emergency Manager, Dr. Pattijean Hooper, discuss the exercise in a recent episode of Currently Kirkland.  You can access the video by clicking on the image.


Interested in learning more? This presentation created by the Emergency Manager will walk you through the details of the exercise.

Source: adapted from Cascadia Rising 2016


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