Cascadia Anniversary a Good Reminder to be Earthquake Ready

Posted on January 26, 2021

Oregon Office of Emergency Management – 01/26/21 8:33 AM

Note to media: OEM Geologic Hazards Program Coordinator Althea Rizzo is available for interviews 8:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. today.

Salem, OR— January 26, 2021—The 600-mile fault line of the Cascadia Subduction Zone runs from northern California to British Columbia, bringing with it potential danger of devastation to communities along the West Coast by the effects of a high-magnitude earthquake and resulting tsunamis.

Although it’s been 321 years since the last Cascadia event, and the chances are far and few between, 2020 reminded us that anything can happen and to be prepared for the unexpected.

“Oregon is one of the most earthquake-prone areas in the continental United States, and over the years, we have had many quakes – large and small,” said Althea Rizzo, geologic hazards program coordinator for Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management.

Rizzo says there have been more than 40 earthquakes in the last 10,000 years along the Cascadia fault, some as few as 190 years apart or as long as 1200 years apart. The last earthquake that occurred in this fault was on January 26, 1700, with an estimated 9.0 magnitude.

“Oregon certainly has the potential for a 9.0+ magnitude Cascadia quake, and a tsunami of up to 100 feet in height,” said Rizzo. “It’s a good idea to be ready.”

Earthquakes can strike suddenly, without warning and at any time of the year. Any and all preventative or warning resources can help to mitigate loss of lives, severe injury and devastating infrastructure damage.

Earthquake shaking may be so strong that running or crawling is not possible. The safest action to take during an earthquake is drop, cover, and hold on.

    • DROP where you are, onto your hands and knees – this position protects you from being knocked down and allows you to stay low and crawl to shelter if nearby.  If no shelter is nearby, crawl next to an interior wall (away from windows).
    • COVER your head and neck with one arm and hand; if a sturdy table or desk is nearby, crawl under it and hold on with one hand. If there is no table or desk near you, maintain a crawling positon to protect your vital organs and be ready to move if necessary.
    • HOLD ON until shaking stops. You are more likely to be injured if you try to move around during strong shaking.

Guidelines on what to do if you are disabled or in other locations than a familiar place such as home, work or school (in a high rise, in a stadium/theater, outdoors, driving, etc.) are available at

Oregon Office of Emergency Management has many tools and resources to be prepared for a Cascadia quake and other disasters. For more information, visit

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