From Wildfires to Earthquakes – Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Story by Ali Hargrave / Red Cross Cascades

Over the course of the past couple of months, Oregon like much of the West Coast has been devastated by wildfires. Though we are still in the midst of disaster recovery, providing shelter and meals for thousands across the Cascades Region, unfortunately, does not mean that we are immune to another disaster occurring. 

Eric Carmichael of the American Red Cross looks out on what was an unspoiled wooded area that burned in the fires near Central Point, OR on Sunday, September 13, 2020.

Did you know that Oregon exists at a convergent continental boundary in which two tectonic plates collide? It’s called the Cascadia Subduction Zone and it’s an earthquake fault that stretches 600 miles up the west coast. According to, “there are over 1,000 earthquakes over magnitude 1.0 in Washington and Oregon every year, with at least two dozen being large enough to be felt”. 

As we have learned with the wildfires, the best time to prepare for a disaster is before it happens. Which is why tomorrow at 10:15 AM on 10/15/2020, we want everyone to join us in participating in The Great Shakeout and DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON. 

When an earthquake hits, chances are you only have seconds to protect yourself. This is why, every year, the Red Cross Cascades Region partners with the Oregon Office of Emergency Management and FEMA to educate Oregonians on how to prepare for and respond to an earthquake.

We’ve all heard that ‘practice makes perfect’ and this is a great opportunity to take a moment and practice how you would respond to an earthquake whether you are at home in bed, in your car, or even at the grocery store. 

If earthquake preparedness is new to you, we encourage you to take the time to understand the ins and outs of how to DROP, COVER and HOLD ON. According to The Great ShakeOut, it’s “a good idea to practice earthquake safety in different situations each year, and and the American Red Cross are here to support you. 

This is also a great time to take a minute and make sure your emergency preparedness kit is fully stocked and ready to go, including some of those newer items such as masks and hand sanitizer. To learn more, visit where you can learn how to best prepare for earthquakes, wildfires, and more. 

We hope you join us at 10:15AM on 10/15 to DROP, COVER, and HOLD ON with the Great ShakeOut!