Home Emergency Management News FEMA to Stage Pacific Northwest Megaquake in June

FEMA to Stage Pacific Northwest Megaquake in June

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Emergency response to megaquake, tsunami to be tested

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is planning to simulate a devastating earthquake and tsunami in the Pacific Northwest -- and response to these potential disasters -- this June.

On June 7, thousands of emergency personnel from around the U.S. will gather to participate in a four-day exercise that will emulate a huge Pacific Northwest megaquake and the effects it would have on the region.

Cascadia Rising, coming soon to the PNW

Known as "Cascadia Rising," the exercise will be the biggest ever conducted in the Pacific Northwest. Upwards of 6,000 emergency and military personnel will likely take part in the exercise.

Nisqually quake, 15 years later

Just over 15 years ago, on February 28, 2001, the devastating Nisqually earthquake struck the Puget Sound region. That quake measured at 6.8 on the revised Richter Scale and injured at least 200 people while causing more than $1 billion in damage to buildings and roads.

Cascadia Rising will simulate an event much larger than the Nisqually quake. The exercise will test response to a magnitude 8.0 to 9.0 earthquake that occurs in the Pacific Northwest once every 200 to 500 years. According to FEMA, the last megaquake of this magnitude occurred more than 300 years ago.

The overall goal of the staged catastrophe is to identify problems and discover ways improve response when real disaster strikes.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.