Perhaps planning for an earthquake or tsunami isn't high on your list of things to do, but Peter Ovington, a geologic hazards outreach specialist with the Oregon Department of Geology & Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), recommends it.
He offers a few response guidelines that might save your life. First, in case of an earthquake, you should drop, cover and hold on until the shaking stops. Diving under a sturdy table would be a good idea.
Second, If you're at the coast and a tsunami is coming, your response should depend on whether it is a near one – one that would come from a quake on the Cascadia subduction zone about 60 miles off the Oregon coast arriving in 15 to 20 minutes – or a distant one – one originating somewhere on the Pacific rim like Alaska or Japan with waves reaching the Oregon coast four or more hours after the quake.
A near tsunami, depending on the severity of the quake, would be a serious threat to everyone in the tsunami zone.
Since time is of the essence in a near tsunami, Ovington recommends being familiar with evacuation routes and having a plan of escape. Perhaps keeping a back pack ready with emergency supplies is something you should consider. If roads are destroyed by the quake, you may be forced to seek higher ground in a tall building nearby.
A distant tsunami would not likely be as severe as a near one and warnings should provide enough time to choose the best course of action. Here again being familiar with evacuation routes would be very beneficial for those on the coast.
There was an interesting news story recently in the Columbian that reported on a trio of inventors in Camas, Oreg, who invented a tsunami pod that according to the story looks like “a chest-high, orange object, which looked a bit like the offspring of a Christmas ornament mating with a Coast Guard buoy.”
According to reporter, Sue Vorenberg, the inventors claim that ““Nothing’s going to breach this thing. We’ve abused this thing in every way we could dream of.” They even fired three two- by-fours and three coconuts at it out of a cannon, and it did just fine.
The inventors said they are selling the two-man pod, outfitted, for $4,500 and the four-man pod, similarly outfitted, for $6,500.
According to Ovington such a pod may be useful but runs the risk of being washed out to sea and not being rescued for many days because of the disarray and confusion caused by the tsunami.
A story of interest on the possibility of a Cascadia earthquake appears in the Broadside of Central Oregon Community College.