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Lincoln County emergency managers say don’t be alarmed by this weekend’s drill

Community emergency volunteers at a previous training event.
File photo
Lincoln County
Community emergency volunteers at a previous training event.

Emergency management officials in Lincoln County are warning the public not to panic if they hear about a widespread disaster this Saturday. It’s part of a training event for a Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake.

The scenario imagines a 9.0 magnitude quake with the potential to kill thousands, destroy buildings, and make highways unusable. The good news: For now, at least, the disaster is all made up.

On Saturday morning, though, hundreds of volunteers will fan out across Lincoln County to assess the fake damage. And they’ll communicate with each other via two-way radio.

Lincoln County assistant emergency manager Jess Palma says they’re putting out the word in advance so that anyone listening in to those radio communications won’t be alarmed.

“We’re trying to avoid another ‘War of the Worlds’ scenario, where people might hear these transmissions and think ‘Oh no, what’s happening?’” she said. "You might hear that roads are blocked, or there are fires, or a building has been collapsed. That is all part of the drill and is simulated information."

Palma said this will be the first disaster drill in Lincoln County to use community volunteers on such a wide scale. It's part of a regionwide exercise known as Cascadia Rising.

Palma said the drill is also a good time for people to revisit their disaster plan for their own household.

"If you've added a pet to your household since you've made your plan, did you update your supplies with extra food and water for them?" she said. "Or, if you have a new medication, have you updated your bag with that new medication?"

Chris Lehman has been reporting on Oregon issues since 2006. He joined the KLCC news department in December 2018 and became News Director in March 2023. Chris was born and raised in Pennsylvania, and graduated from Temple University with a degree in journalism. His public broadcasting career includes stops in Louisiana and Illinois. Chris has filed for national programs including “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered.”