Newberg Christian Church hosting a disaster preparedness presentation and fair

RENDERING COURTESY OF OSU - A graphic shows the tectonic rupture area along the Cascadia Subduction Zone off the northwest coast of the United States and British Columbia, Canada. When the  plates shift it will cost earthquakes and tsunamis.

The question is not if, but when the Cascade Subduction Zone will slip and cause a major earthquake. To prepare, the American Red Cross will soon hold Prepare Out Loud, a presentation of scientific facts to inform people about the reality of a catastrophic earthquake in an attempt to make the concept of preparing socially acceptable.

The presentation will cover the science and history of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, how humans behave during disasters, what to expect during a major earthquake, how to locate loved ones following a disaster, and how much food, water and other supplies will be needed.

"This is not just the Newberg earthquake but the Pacific Northwest earthquake, where you have 11 million people impacted in the same way over the space of four to six minutes," Steven Eberlein, donor development officer for the Red Cross, said in a press release. "And you have a limited number of people that can respond along with the compromised infrastructure."

The Red Cross is not out to scare anyone, but wants to "bring people out of the preparedness closet in a way to mainstream it," Eberlein stated. "This is what created Mount Hood and the Cascades. It also gives an idea of why the aftermath is going to be so hard. The reason it will be so hard in the case of Oregon, is this is an earthquake that will impact pretty much every place between the Cascade Mountains and the coast all the way from northern California up to Vancouver, Canada."

Chris Goldfinger, a paleoseismologist at Oregon State University, has studied earthquakes and how often they occurred in the past. It is because of Goldfinger that we understand how often the Cascadia Subduction Zone rumbled to life every 243 years. The logic he used was that when an earthquake struck it would cause sea floor landslides off the coasts of Washington, California, Oregon and British Columbia. Goldfinger used seafloor imaging and mapping to study the landslides by counting them and found out that in a space of 10,000 years there were more than 40 8.0- to 9.0-magnitude earthquakes in the zone. The last earthquake was in January 1700. Therefore, the Northwest is way overdue for a major quake.

The goal of Prepare Out Loud is to apply common sense thinking to a complicated scientific phenomenon in order to prompt people to take action.

"We start out with a friendly overview on the science," Eberlein said. "It gives a clear view, like wow, this is a really big deal. We need to be able to talk about it and understand that this is going on right beneath our feet."

The gathering will also help the Red Cross and other agencies understand the psyche of the typical Northwesterner.

"There are cultural blind spots and we need to understand why. …," Eberlein said. "We are caught in this cultural moment, where we haven't begun to expect each other to respond in a common, sensible way. We're trying to bring people out of the closet in preparedness in a way, we need to mainstream it."

Prepare Out Loud begins at 5 p.m., the presentation is at 6 and it runs 8 p.m. on Monday at Newberg Christian Church, 2315 Villa Road.

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