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My Recent Wake-Up Call RE: Being Prepared

Discussion in 'Preparedness & Survival' started by etrain16, Sep 23, 2015.

  1. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    We just got back from a week on the Oregon Coast. I've been vacationing there since I was a kid. Growing up in Oregon, we never worried about earthquakes, and we certainly weren't concerned about tsunamis. But with the recent uptick in discussion about the Cascadia Subduction Zone and the fact that it will eventually generate a very destructive quake, got me thinking.

    So, before we left on this last trip, I started working on a travel emergency kit, something I've not done before. I threw together a variety of items from water, food, stove, fuel, lights, batteries, first aid supplies, extra medication, tarps and a few other items in a big tote that I threw into the back of our truck. I also threw in a spare backpack for use when away from the truck.

    I also decided to order 2 Midland weather radios from Amazon. Not expensive, and would help alert us or even keep us informed after the fact. I reviewed evac routes for the various places we would be visiting while we were there.

    Any time I left the house, I made sure we had our bag with us if we were any distance from the truck. That meant carrying extra stuff no matter where we were. And I'll tell you, it was a pain. And it wasn't even a fully equipped go bag. It wasn't the weight so much, but having to lug another item around when you're trying to do fun stuff. It gets in the way. I had a 9mm, .22lr and 12 gauge, all with extra ammo packed with me too (though only the 9mm was on me when we just had the bag alone).

    What really got my attention though was reading more closely about how much warning you would get if a massive Cascadia quake were to hit. Estimates put the 'big one' at anywhere from 8.5 to 9.5 - catastrophic - followed by massive tsunami waves that could easily exceed 40'. Then they talk about what to do when the quake hits if you're on the coast - wait for the shaking to stop, then get out, fast. Their estimate is that you could have as little as 6 minutes to evacuate to higher ground before the waves start to hit. 6 minutes! Holy crap. The big quake in Anchorage shook for almost 5 minutes in 1964, that leaves precious little time to get out. And from where we were staying to the nearest 'safe' evac point was just about a mile away. So if you have to do it on foot (maybe the road is buckled and impassible by car/truck), you're likely hosed.

    It had me thinking all week. Where to go? How quickly can we get there? Should we even be here?

    It got us both thinking that maybe it's time to re-think our coastal visits. Now, knowing this quake could be dozens or even hundreds of years away, I don't want to panic and miss out on one of my favorite parts of the state. But it did make us wonder if vacationing in a place like Rockaway is the best idea. It's very low lying, and surrounded for miles to the north and south by low-lying areas that would be completely inundated if a massive tsunami hit. They have very few resources in the area for emergencies, no hospital (the one in Tillamook would likely be wiped out, and that's 15 miles away), very few emergency personnel, most of whom are volunteer, few stores of supplies available - assuming they even survive the tsunami. And the chances of getting out of the area and back to the valley - unlikely for a long time - perhaps a month or months. It became clear that, if we really want to be well prepared should the quake hit during a visit, it probably isn't the place to be.

    So, next year, if we return, we're thinking about choosing a place that can first off, offer some areas that are elevated above the flood zone. So, Lincoln City comes to mind. It has a lot of areas that are well above sea level, with rocky cliffs to help with a solid base for that space. Plus, the city is much larger, has more resources available, and would, in my best guess, be more likely to receive outside help first after a big event since more people are there.

    All this has my head spinning a bit. The last thing I want to do is worry/obsess about this, but I do want to have a good plan and be reasonably prepared should the worst happen. I really got a wake up call this past week. Planning for an event like this, especially when you're far away from your home base camp, is far more complicated and inconvenient than I had ever imagined. I guess the good news is that now that I've sufficiently startled myself, I can put more time and effort into better planning for those events.

    How about you folks? Those of you that live or vacation on the coast? What are your thoughts?

    Oh, one last thing. A friend/former co-worker retired to the Rockaway area 2 years ago. We had dinner with them and I asked how they plan/prepare for the potential Cascadia quake/tsunami. I got blank stares followed by "well, we'd just head to higher ground until it was clear". I left them with a few things to consider before we left, hopefully they'll think it through a bit more. Because if the big one does hit, everything they own will be gone in minutes. There wouldn't be anywhere to return to.
     
  2. The Heretic

    The Heretic Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Certainly you should know what to do and have plans. Someday the quake will happen.

    However, the chances that you will be visiting the coast at the same time it happens are very low.

    If you lived there, then that would be a different consideration; it would be prudent to consider not living in a low lying area or spending a LOT of time there (e.g., working in the low elevations), thereby increasing the chances you will be in a vulnerable area when the quake hits - if it hits while you are alive and there.

    Areas like Tillamook have a lot of low tidal flats and similar delta areas, and I wouldn't live in those low lying areas, but I am not too worried about visiting them from time to time. It is prudent to know escape routes though.

    I lived in Newport for 3 years when I was in the USCG and areas like that usually have some elevation not far from the beach, so they are better.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  3. DMcGPNW

    DMcGPNW SW WA Member

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    Hmm... this is something we have likely all thought of. Being prepared and giving some forethought to how to respond is valued here. However, how far do you take it? I assume most on this site don't want to be the Burt Gummer on the block (although that majority may be slim), but all of refuse to walk blindly through life happily ignorant of dangers and responsibilities.

    Life is a series of calculated risks. Climbing a ladder to work on the roof or taking a winding two lane highway at 2 a.m. carry risks (including death) but we do these things. Traveling to the beach (with the looming threat of tsunami) or Yellow Stone (the super volcano) is much the same. We need to weigh safety and preparedness with quality and enjoyment in our lives. Some can combine the two as preparing is their pastime, the rest have to balance. Enjoy life (ups and downs) and don't let your readiness and preparedness swallow up joy. Otherwise what's the point?

    Good Travels
    A Guy From the Internet
     
  4. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I don't see any reason to panic about it, or to let it become a hindrance to enjoying the coast. Life can really be wasted if you worry about all the different things that could happen to you on any particular day. But, I think at least some folks like to take a little extra precaution here or there, such as making sure your doors are locked at night, you've got a charged fire extinguisher in the house or you strap on a gun when you head out each day.

    With the earthquake, we know it will happen, so that gives I think enough reason to give it more than passing consideration since the effects would be wide-spread and catastrophic. Unlike an event that happens just to you, this event removes much or all of the normal support systems you rely on every day, so it seems reasonable to prepare, at least a bit.

    I'm not ready to pass on going to the coast. I love it there. Is it a bit riskier than being in town? Maybe so. And you're right, the likelihood of the big quake hitting while we're actually there is pretty small, but it's my job to help protect my family, thus my thoughts on this matter.

    I guess what really surprises me are how many people just poo poo the whole idea of the quake, or are completely ignorant as to how it would impact them.

    It's good to discuss it I suppose.
     
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  5. Martini_Up

    Martini_Up NW USA Well-Known Member

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    have your rockaway friend research 'tsunami protection pod / capsule' . his house and belonging will be toast but he will have a chance at living in one of these.
     
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  6. Just Jim

    Just Jim Well-Known Member

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    Lived in oregon 63 years and only felt one earthquake and it barely moved me. I have seen more family destruction from economics than any natural causes, more death from what we eat, drink and smoke. Plus odds are people will die in an auto accident before they would a earthquake.

    Even if you prep if the quake is big your preps will get destroyed so best bet to prep with is money and things in another area. I tend to be prepared and not let concerns change my ability to enjoy what I am doing, yet be aware of what's going on around me.
     
    etrain16 likes this.
  7. ZA_Survivalist

    ZA_Survivalist Oregon AK's all day.

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    Everytime I leave the house without my EDC bag or when I travel a little ways from home, I ALWAYS end up needing a something that I normally keep in the bag(s).

    Tape, plastic bags, tools, first aid, water, firearm related gear, gloves, change of clothes/socks and spare oair of shoes.. You name it.. Just having it in my vehicle makes a world of difference.

    So, when I had my jeep I made a "trunk" that I kept in the back, it now rides in my truck but carries all those things and larger items I wouldnt carry in a small backpack.

    Id say the biggest thing would be food, water and things for warmth.. If you're on the coast and live closer to PDX.. If traffic closes HWY 30 and 26 down.. You're going to be there for a while, if people panic and start buying up all the food and portable water you may have a tough time getting"enough" for your family.. And if you dont carry cash and power is out, again you dont have means of providig for yor family in a tough situation because you cant use your card. Its also cooler towards the coast and higher elevations.. Blankets, coats and golves/socks make a big difference as well.

    But its certainly a wake up call. Its those little things you keep on you or in your vehicle that make some moments in life or crisis MUCH easier.
     
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  8. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    I'll bet you the Germans still flock to the same beach that was hit by the big tsunami years ago.
    you can be prepared but there is no reason to change plans unless you are thinking of becoming a hermit
     
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  9. IronMonster

    IronMonster Washington Opinionated Member Diamond Supporter

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    My recommendation is put up twice as much gold/cash and half as much stuff as you think you will need. Odd's are you will be far better off.

    I am over prepared and under funded
     
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  10. CoastRange57

    CoastRange57 Western Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I too refuse to give up my coast time. The wife is born and raised on the coast, so we go there at least one or two times a month. I am well aware of the potential for the problems following an earthquake. The " IF" Hwy 26 0r 6 or 34 are impassable, it is not if they will be highly impassable. The bridges will be gone, landslides will block the roads,

    I know at least 4 different ways through the woods to get back to the valley, but they would likely be compromised as well. When we leave the house, we have enough in the vehicle to live for at least 4 days, and could go to ground for that long if needed.

    I have a friend who I can get a hold of by ham radio that has an airplane that can land in a big back yard.

    People have no remote idea as to how compromised the roads, utilities, and other infrastructures would be. Throw in every possible contingency and then add couple more to get an even close idea. You simply could not make up enough scenarios to be prepared.
     
  11. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I took the time to look fairly critically at the isolation issue. What you say about the passes being severely blocked, for a long time, is something that I certainly considered. According to the recent Oregon Cascadia Playbook, they estimate that it would take 30+ days before people could self-evacuate away from the coast to the valley areas. That's a long time to be prepared.

    As a type 1 diabetic, I need insulin to survive. I can survive for a while without it, but things will get progressively worse very quickly - I could have severe issues in a matter of days with no insulin. So, planning to have a long-term supply of a medication that requires refrigeration for long term (more than a few days) of storage, is a big deal.

    But, like others have mentioned already, I'm not ready to give up my time on the coast. I like it too much ;)
     
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  12. DieselScout

    DieselScout S Clackamas County Well-Known Member

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    More likely to get killed driving to the coast then a tsunami. Being prepared is one thing, knowing your escape route and having plan, well you should always have that in mind. Refusing to travel becuase of that worry is just stupid paranoia.
     
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  13. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    Sounds like you need to travel in a RV.(people live in these for extended periods of time ya know):D
    Really though,if your needs are refrigerated medicine then an RV with,as most have,a propane refer. And most are 3 way so 12v or 110.
    There is always WAY TOO much storage in RVs. You can put so much junk in them. But if you are smart about it you can carry plenty of freeze dried type foods. The only 2 thing negative are the amount of water you can carry and the black water tank.
    The water tanks are plenty big enough for a week,or maybe longer if you ration well
    But the black water can be overcome with a good shovel and some bushes,lol
    The grey water? Well don't use much soap and it's not too bad to drain on the ground as long as you're not next to a body of water
    AND!!!! you get a dry place to sleep!
     
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  14. etrain16

    etrain16 Oregon Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    Good point, one I hadn't considered. We actually have a camper/trailer but don't usually use it when we go to the coast. It might be worth considering bringing it along in the future....:rolleyes:
     
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