Under Specter Of Major Quake, Safety And Aid Agencies Preach Preparedness

Apr 5, 2019

An earthquake preparedness program drew nearly 200 people to South Eugene High School last night. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, the essentials of surviving a Cascadian event was the focus.

Red Cross volunteer Alex Roy explains the science behind seismic disturbances, as part of the organization's "Prepare Out Loud" program last night.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Roy talks to the audience, behind a table covered with numerous items recommended for households and offices for when earthquakes hit.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Red Cross volunteer Alex Roy discussed the importance of putting together a prep kit, which can be steadily – and inexpensively - built up through routine shopping trips.

“Folks need to realize that they’re not going to have access to resources right away, it could be quite a while,” Roy tells KLCC.  “And so what we’d like people to have in place is up to a two-week supply of food and water.”

Alex Roy discusses the effects of an earthquake during the 90 minute program.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Roy also emphasized having a plan for reconnecting with other family members, as being apart in the aftermath can be stressful. His safety preparedness tips resonated with many, including South Hills resident Eric Hause.

“We have a lot of windows in our house, so thinking about how to keep away from glass,” he said.  “And having good shoes that you can wear, and being mindful after the disaster around protecting yourself from glass and other debris that’s on the floor.”

Overall, Hause seemed satisfied with the information shared.

“Obviously, the unanswerable question is, when it’s going to hit,” he laughed.

Preparing for a major earthquake has many Pacific Northwest residents storing up supplies and provisions.  Some have even made disaster preparedness their business.

Margaret Steinbrunn (right) of Med-Tech Resource LLC describes some of the many kits they assemble for individuals, homes, and offices. The company marks 25 years this month.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Margaret Steinbrunn is with Med-Tech Resource of Eugene, which marks 25 years this month. At the preparedness fair held before the Red Cross’ “Prepare Out Loud” program, she demonstrated some of their safety gear, including a specialized flare.

“You can take that flare and stick it under water which is great for the Northwest,” explains Steinbrunn.

“Also, a lot of flares have to have a stand, or they have like a nail in the bottom so you can stand them up. Well this has a little anti-roll tab on it that burns off so it doesn’t roll if it gets windy.”

“Very handy, I can see that being important in many circumstances,” I tell her.

“Especially with the water,” replies Steinbrunn. “We do live in Oregon.”

Red Cross representatives field questions from fair goers about supplies and readiness before the formal program.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Besides food and water, residents are urged to keep radios, batteries, and first-aid kits handy for a major seismic event. 

Meanwhile, the City of Eugene’s Emergency Manager says while all municipal agencies and departments are preparing for an earthquake, no community has all the resources and money to be completely ready at any point.

Kevin Holman, City of Eugene Emergency Manager.
Credit Brian Bull / KLCC

Kevin Holman says the city would reach out to the state and FEMA for disaster assistance as needed. He adds it’s also important that locals prep as well.

“It’s surprising to me how many people really discount this as not important,” Holman tells KLCC.  “I hear people from California say, ‘Oh, I’ve been in big earthquakes, it’s no big deal.’ Well, this is a big deal. They’re not going to look like bulls-eye earthquakes out of California. 

“So people…take it seriously, because lives will be in danger.” 

Seismologists say there’s a nearly 40 percent chance of a powerful earthquake hitting the Pacific Northwest within the next half century.

WEB EXTRA: Watch audience do a 1-minute drill during a simulated earthquake emergency

Copyright 2019, KLCC.