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THIS IS ONLY A TEST – Cascadia Rising Earthquake Preparedness Exercise | The Seattle/Puget Sound region has experienced a major earthquake event – important safety & transportation updates in the City of Seattle #CascadiaRising2022 #TestTestTest

Graphic showcasing the scale of potential damage of a major earthquake event in the Cascadia Rising 2022 simulation & emergency response training exercise. Graphic credit: FEMA.

Editor’s Note (June 14, 2022, 1:40 p.m.): This blog post is part of a multi-agency training exercise called “Cascadia Rising.” Federal, state, and local government agencies across the Puget Sound region, Washington State, and the Pacific Northwest prepare for a coordinated response to a simulated major earthquake event, as part of our ongoing emergency preparedness efforts, including the City of Seattle. This is a TEST – and ONLY A TEST. Thank you.

Imagine a major earthquake (seismic scale 9.0) has hit the Seattle/Puget Sound region, causing catastrophic damage to homes, buildings, and personal property, as well as numerous fatalities and serious injuries. The earthquake has also resulted in major impacts to critical public safety and health infrastructure, including roads, bridges, electricity, phone and internet access, medical facilities, as well as limiting access to food, drinking water, and shelter.

In this scenario, the City of Seattle is working closely side-by-side with its #OneSeattle City partners, regional partners, Washington State government, and the federal government to respond quickly and effectively, despite the extremely challenging and devastating conditions as outlined above.

Please use this blog post as a resource to help you travel to essential destinations like hospitals, to reach family members, or to access food, water, and other needed items. Limit trips to essential travel and remain sheltered in place if possible, as conditions continue to evolve. Continue to check for official updates are provided via radio, television, and other communication channels in the city and our region.

Travel safety information:

  • Be aware that many of the city’s essential travel routes have been damaged and the city’s bridges, structures, and other infrastructure may not be safe to travel on at this time. Again, please avoid any non-essential trips.
  • If you do need to travel, consider traveling by foot, by bike, or by using the limited transit that may still be operating at this time. If you need to drive, please be aware you may run into impassable situations due to the earthquake damage.
  • If you have access to the internet, you can visit SDOT’s Traveler’s Information web page.
  • For our latest updates, visit our SDOT Twitter accounts: @seattledot and @sdottraffic.

Additional resources to stay informed:

Please do your best to stay safe and look out for yourself and others as we respond to this massive earthquake in the coming hours and days. Stay tuned for additional official updates as they become available.

As we continue to prepare and train for disaster scenarios such as this Cascadia Rising test drill, we appreciate you staying informed and preparing yourself, your family, and your local community for potential future disasters and other emergencies. Here are some important resources explaining how you can prepare for a future major disaster or emergency. Thank you.

Additional Background on Cascadia Rising 2022 training exercise

Information courtesy of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

Purpose: Improving Joint Operations

  • Conducting successful life-saving and life-sustaining response operations in the aftermath of a Cascadia Subduction Zone disaster will hinge on the effective coordination and integration of governments at all levels – cities, counties, state and Federal agencies, the military, tribal nations, non-government organizations and the private sector.
  • One of the primary goals of the Cascadia Rising 2022 exercise is to build upon the lessons learned from the Cascadia Rising 2016 exercise and continue to train and test the whole community approach to complex disaster operations together as a joint team.
  • Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake Exercise (Cascadia Rising 2022), an existing Region X exercise, will focus on critical components to a catastrophic earthquake, including state, local, tribal, federal, Department of Defense, Emergency Management Assistance Compact, non-profit, and private-sector participation across the States of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, with additional support from Alaska.

About the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) Earthquake

  • A 9.0 magnitude Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ) earthquake ripping across the 700-mile CSZ fault line occurs on average once every 200 to 500 years.
  • The last major CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurred in 1700.
  • Recent subduction zone fault earthquakes around the world underscore the similar challenges we will face when the next CSZ earthquake and tsunami occurs in our region: 
    • Indonesia (2004): M9.1; 228,000 deaths
    • Chile (2010): M8.8; 500 deaths
    • Northeast Japan (2011): M9.0; 18,000 deaths
Map of the Cascadia Subduction Zone, including showing Washington, Oregon, and California, various fault zones, and the Pacific Ocean in light blue.
Map of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Graphic credit: FEMA

Capabilities Tested

  • Operational Coordination: Demonstrate the ability to establish operational control and coordination structures within the impacted region to include the mobilization, employment, and sustainment of critical internal and external response resources to meet basic survivor needs and stabilize the incident.
  • Infrastructure Systems: Demonstrate the ability to stabilize critical infrastructure functions, minimize health and safety threats, and efficiently restore and revitalize systems and services to support a viable, resilient community.
  • Mass‐Care Services: Demonstrate the ability to coordinate and deliver life‐sustaining services to disaster survivors with a focus on hydration, feeding, emergency sheltering, evacuations, and donations and volunteer management.

Exercise Participants

  • Local, state, and Federal agencies, tribal nations, private sector, and non-governmental organizations across three states – Washington, Oregon, and Idaho – will be participating in the four-day Cascadia Rising 2022 Exercise.
  • Other key partners include National Guard and Department of Defense.

For More Information