Practice makes Preparedness

Lexi Kerr, Sports Editor

A symphony of car alarms are blaring. Glass shatters from all directions. Book shelves and other furniture you thought were secure come crashing down. It’s pitch black and water soaks the floor as the sprinkler system malfunctions. This is the Cascadia earthquake that will likely impact the entire Pacific Northwest. Do you know what to do?

It’s necessary to practice the event of an earthquake because social behavior will take over and we will start to impact each other in negative ways, said Red Cross speaker in an informational meeting titled, “Prepare Out Loud,” Tuesday night in the Ice Auditorium.

Steven Eberlein ensured that McMinnville’s historic Third Street won’t be underwater, swimming with dolphins. However, residents will experience an intense, lengthy earthquake possibly followed by smaller disasters such as house fires, gas leaks, liquidation of land, and entrapment due to bridge collapses. Eberlein shared the key ingredients to having a disaster plan, such as initiating a family talk and what food, water and first-aid people should have prepared.

“What are firefighters doing when they’re not putting out fires?” Eberlein asked the crowd. “They’re practicing putting out fires because they know they have to do it without fear.”

When the infamous Cascadia earthquake finally occurs, Eberlein advised to first follow three steps: drop, cover and hold on to something. When the tectonic plates that cause the earthquake finally slip, there will be two “shakes,” in which the first shake will be a warning.

When rocks first break, it sends a p-wave that might make you stop and say, “did you feel that?” Eberlein said you will have about 10 minutes until the “big” shake happens, or the s-wave.

Other than shaking, Eberlein said expect a lot of noise. Dogs will bark, car and security alarms will go off, sprinkler systems will be triggered. The important thing after the earthquake happens, Eberlein said, is to go outside to safety in case of an aftershock.

But preparedness goes deeper than what to do during an earthquake.

Eberlein said residents should be prepared for two weeks without any Red Cross or services of the like—but don’t fear. Most residents of the Pacific Northwest already know how to do this.

“It’s like camping! Camping is when you willingly go to someplace for an extended period of time without services. We know how to do this… we just might not be prepared for camping to come to us,” Eberlein said.

After the earthquake hits, people should have essential resources on hand. Residents should have at least 14 gallons of water, shelf-stable food and anything you buy on a regular basis like toothpaste or tampons. Eberlein suggested budgeting one meal every time you on a regular trip to the grocery store to add to your emergency kit.

Having a first-aid kit is especially essential. Eberlein stressed the importance of keeping extra medication or at least pill bottle labels in the kit so the Red Cross can expedite medication when help arrives.

Other things like hand-crank radios, tools, maps and a contact person outside of the northwest area can help in the case that our beloved cellphones become unusable. Eberlein recommended that the outside contact person have numbers of all family members and vice versa so you can determine through that contact if everyone is safe.

The hardest part of being prepared, however, is what Eberlein called the family plan.

“This is the hardest voluntary conversation you might have,” he said. What happens when all five of your family members are in 5 different places and disaster strikes? Eberlein had this conversation with his wife.

“We understand whose plan is what and where we can meet,” Eberlein said. He is incharge of picking up two of his kids while his wife is incharge of the other. They agreed to either meet back at the house, or two other nearby parks. “ You can’t do this alone.”

Eberlein said high-magnitude earthquakes are predicted to strike every 243 years on average. The last earthquake happened Jan. 25, 1700— which means the next earthquake is tardy by almost 50 years.

The Big One is coming no matter how much we try to deny it.

Many have learned the steps of dropping, covering and holding, which is often practiced in school or work settings. The crowd even laughed at ridiculous “what-not-to-do” examples of disaster reactions, such as a store owner prioritizing the safety of his wine over his employees. But Eberlein reiterated that people follow social chain reactions. People act based upon the norm or what they see exemplified.

“Someone needs to start the conversation. Someone needs to take action,” Eberlein said to the crowd of 250. “ And it’s people like you who are going to be the leaders.”

This event was put on by the Yamhill County Emergency Management, Linfield College and the American Red Cross. “Prepare Out Loud” is one of two events intended to inform and spark action in disaster preparedness in the McMinnville and surrounding communities.

The “Community Preparedness Fair”, the second event, will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 10 in the McMinnville Community Center. Multiple informational booths will be showcased, covering emergency kits, water purification, survival gear, emergency food supplies and more. The Community Emergency Response team will also offer three workshops on disaster preparation.

The fair is made possible by the Yamhill County Emergency Management, Yamhill County CERT, City of McMinnville and the local unit of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

For more information, maps and schedules of the fair, visit the Yamhill Communities Emergency Preparedness website. (

The American Red Cross provided a disaster resource guide, Cascadia conservation kit and volunteer information sheet for those who attended the “Prepare Out Loud” event. To view these resources and other helpful information on Cascadia preparedness, visit the website of American Red Cross Cascades Region (

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