What do you do if a mega earthquake happens and you are at the beach? Run for the hills, right?! Knowing what to do, and actually doing it are two separate things, and that's why practice is so important. During the International ShakeOut! exercise on Thursday, Oct 19th, 2023, I participated in a tsunami drill with the South Tillamook County CERT team. I met new people and learned the routes to two tsunami assembly areas in Neskowin, Oregon. If you spend time at the beach, consider walking the evacuation routes as a practice; note how much time it takes you to vigorously walk to high ground.
When at the beach, practice walking to your Tsunami Assembly Area.
Also, check into buying a GMRS radio; many of the beach communities have GMRS radio nets to help with communication in a disaster. A radio can also help you keep track of rescue efforts and NOAA safety alerts, especially if cell phones fail. Communication will be essential during a disaster. Here are some tips if you are at the beach and feel strong shaking:
Drop, Cover, and Hold On until the Earthquake is over. Protect yourself.
Run Inland to high ground. Leave immediately. DO NOT WAIT for an official warning. GO ON FOOT, and don't carry anything heavy that might slow you down.
Follow evacuation route signs and arrows to your nearest safety destination out of the tsunami zone.
Do not slow down. Maintain your speed until you leave the tsunami zone. Safety zones may be identified by blue lines painted across the road or by an assembly Area sign, like the one in the photo. Once safe, go to the nearest Assembly Area or neighborhood gathering site.
Do NOT return to the beach. Large waves may continue to come onshore for up to 12 hours. WAIT for official NOAA tsunami cancellation and a cautionary re-entry notice by local emergency officials before returning to low lying areas.
Judy Janowitz practiced drop, cover and hold on with her sister at the hair stylist in Beaverton.
Bean and I met a new neighbor, Colleen, who lives near the Hillcrest Tsunami Assembly Area in Neskowin. It's good to have friends in high places. She was ready with her go bag. :)
Karen Ronning-Hall, Disaster Preparedness Evangelist, living in beautiful Portland, Oregon, with hubby Bill, daughter Geneva, Bean dog, Thumper kitty, and Terry the turtle.