Cascadia Subduction Zone

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Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Cascadia Subduction Zone

For those of you in the Pacific Notrthwest of the USA and neighboring Canada:

Some of you might know that I am a safety engineer in the construction industry. I thought you might like to know that there is a huge revision of plans for emergeny response in the area along the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Basically, they know from geological evidence that there is a "big one" coming along that underwater fault zone, and the results would be about the same as what happened in Japan with the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami. The print version of ENR did an article about it, where engineers went in to look at the post-tsunami wreckage in Japan and see what stood, what didn't, and why. They came away with new understanding about vertical evacuation, lateral trusses, and how to attach constuction columns to footings to avoid buidlings literally snapping at ground level and rolling away. Oh, and the debris gave them a healthy respect for the power of water surging back toward the sea.

Some takaways for personal prepardness.

1. If you are right on the coast you might only have 20 minutes of warning time. On some phones you can get free text emergency warnings from Weather.com; on others you can get it as an ap. I'd sign up for one of these services. We used these all the time in NYC to make sure the winds were not strong enought to topple a crane or to warn of thunderstorms. It's great for tornado warnings and advisories, too.

2. Are the things in your Go-bag waterproof, like in good-quailty zipper-closure bags? Nothing is nicer than food and clothes that are not immersed in dirty salt water.

3. Evacuate on foot to higher ground. Roads tend to mimic the flow of water. Lots of people drowned trying to get away from the tsunami in vehicles.

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